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Cardinals eye Ballpark Village progress; looking better than KC

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Crews are working hard in downtown St. Louis building Ballpark Village. Kansas City already has a similar project by the same developer. It appears the St. Louis project will be bigger and better. And, it is keeping Cardinals’ President Bill Dewitt III very busy, “It’s definitely a double load right now.”

He can see construction right outside his office window, “It’s kind of like I’m a kid in the a candy store because I waited so long to see progress now I see hundreds of guys out there every day making something happen.”

The Cordish Companies are behind Ballpark Village, five years ago they created Kansas City’s Power and Light district which attracts 8 million people a year. Folks in Kansas City insist it’s not just a tourist attraction. Reggie Hines is a Kansas City resident, “Tourists have a good time down here but I think the general population of Kansas City comes down here quite often.”

K.C.’s development has 16 restaurants, clubs and bars in the live district. Ballpark Village will have about half as many, but three of them are huge. Cardinal Nation and the Budweiser Brew House are multi-levels. Bill dewitt said, “I think this takes our whole game day experience to a new level.”

The Power and Light District has a see through roof with and heaters and fans. St. Louis will do better with a retractable roof. K.C. just got a new video screen last year. The one at ballpark village will be twice as big. Chase Martin of Cordish Companies added, “It will have over 70 television screens in addition to our big screen TV.”

Even when the baseball season ends he expects people to go downtown to watch the Superbowl and other big sporting events. The Power and Light District hosts more than 200 free concerts a year. They attract as many as 8,000 music lovers each time.

Free concerts are also planned for Ballpark Village. Bill DeWitt envisions the place as St. Louis’ living room, a gathering place. Other highlights include the Cardinal Hall of Fame Museum, an outdoor gathering spot located on the same spot as the infield of the old Busch Stadium and a seating deck which overlooks the new Busch Stadium.

DeWitt added, “At the end of the day my fingerprints will be on it in terms of strategic design approach.” Scattered around DeWitt’s office are evidence of the project, his work boots and a hard hat. There are plans for the museum on the floor and artist conceptions cover the wall.

Bill DeWitt likes to watch the construction, maybe a little bit too much, “It can be a little distracting because I got a lot going on and I’m sitting here like this sometimes I catch myself.”

Creating place like Ballpark Village seems to be in his blood. Dewitt’s undergrad degree is in architectural history and of course he worked hard in the creation of the new Busch Stadium.

See progress of the ballpark village LIVE from our webcam.