With Ballpark Village’s Phase II of the development nearing its completion, I was looking forward to seeing if it lived up to my expectations. Downtown STL is on a winning streak, having scored one thousand new jobs from the U.S.D.A., completed the Veteran’s Memorial renovation, renovated the Arch Grounds and Museum, provided more lofts and entertainment on Washington Ave., and of course soon to be boasting the MLS Stadium adjacent to the recently reworked Union Station. I’m excited and thrilled to report that Ballpark Village Phase II is another big win for St. Louis, urbanism, and its reputation as residents and tourists see what’s new.
The largest addition is the new One Cardinal Way luxury apartment tower, seen in the featured image above and again just below. With 29 stories and 292 apartments, starting around $1500 for one bedroom units, One Cardinal Way is going to add significant density to Downtown and provide wonderful living options for baseball fans. Many units have balconies overlooking the stadium just below, with others still enjoying floor to ceiling windows that will allow residents to view the game. Residents may also lounge by the pool and deck looking directly upon the stadium.
Although the St. Louis skyline has not changed must in the past decade, the addition of One Cardinal Way adds a touch of modernity to our post-industrial city. Coming across the river, or heading East toward Downtown, OCW has a noticeable impact on the skyline and, to me, represents a sense of fresh growth and excitement that Downtown needs. So far the LED display has proven somewhat controversial online because of how prominent it is on the building, but I personally find it to be a nice touch. Perhaps it is not the classiest element on an otherwise modern and classy building, but given its location and proximity to bars, the stadium, etc. I think it adds a layer of fun to the area. Plus, it certainly makes it more noticeable after dusk.
The developers at Cordish hoped to make Ballpark VIllage more of a 24-7 district, and with the addition of One Life Fitness, the PWC office building, and the Live! by Loews hotel, they seem to be accomplishing just that.
I was particularly impressed with the hotel portion. For those who have taken walks down Miami Beach or LA’s Venice Beach, you might find this sort of design familiar. With a glass facade facing the inside of the development and balconies overlooking a deck with modern furniture, it feels as though it may have looked over a beach in another life. These rooms should provide unparalleled views for people-watching and baseball fanatics. Better yet, for those who visit St. Louis, they will experience a newly constructed mixed use development centered around entertainment. This is a good look for the city.
With the hotel open, it brings 216 guest rooms to the St. Louis market and 17000 sq. feet of event and meeting space. With St. Louis competing alongside other Midwestern cities for events, conventions, and tourism, this hotel goes a long way for making the city more attractive for tourists and businesses alike.
The PWC office building is perhaps the least interesting building from a visual standpoint in my opinion, but that’s not to say that it looks bad. In fact, Cordish was able to sit the office section on top of a parking podium that is relatively well disguised. This is a welcome bit of news, especially given the prevalence of terribly ugly parking structures in Downtown STL. There’s no question that parking is needed at a development like Ballpark Village, but too much surface parking or parking structures that aren’t activated in some other way distinctly take away from urbanism. This is a good use of space.
The PWC building is the first new Class A office structure in Downtown in about 30 years. The metro area has seen businesses flock to Clayton, Town and Country, and Creve Coeur, but this represents a stark turnaround alongside the new U.S.D.A. jobs announcement and the coming NGA headquarters. If you’re looking for a sign of hope and optimism for Downtown, this is a good indicator. Hopefully this serves as a model for new development in downtown. Premier office space that is well-designed from an urban standpoint and not too visually hard on the eyes either, particularly office space that is near to top amenities like gyms, hotels, and restaurants, will hopefully be successful.
Right next door to the PWC building is the new OneLife Fitness Center, with a large restaurant in the large retail space on the main floor. OneLife Fitness Center sizes up at 31000 sq. feet. Although gyms are struggling in the age of COVID, OneLife is an otherwise welcome amenity for the residents nextdoor. Moreover, with Downtown seeing record levels of residential occupancy, alongside new office construction and more jobs, a top-class fitness center goes a long way toward making Downtown a great place to live happy and healthy. And while it may be difficult to imagine things getting back to normal, Cordish is bullish on this devleopment, jobs are still coming Downtown, and One Cardinal Way is getting closer to full occupancy.
The restaurant, Sports & Social St. Louis, will be a good addition next to the ballpark and has a large emphasis on beer, baseball, and community. There appears to be abundant seating, particularly with the outdoor section.
Behind OneLife Fitness and the PWC building is the main courtyard, and the Sports & Social restaurant extends all the way to the back. There is a decent amount of seating already present on the turf, which I imagine will be packed on game day. The courtyard also opens up to Ballpark Village Phase I, connecting the restaurants and bars within to the new development phase. Better yet, it directly fronts the ballpark and provides a fantastic view of One Cardinal Way in the background. Guests will also be able to view two large LED displays, one in the courtyard, and one on OCW, which should show live scenes of the game, apparently.
While walking around the newly built out structures, I also enjoyed the walkway below. It feels cohesive, urban, and modern. It connects attractions, communities from PWC, residents from OCW, tourists from Live! by Loews, fitness gurus from OneLife Fitness, and baseball lovers visiting om game day. Walking through the area on a day in the middle of COVID as the project is still nearing completion left me feeling incredibly excited at what we have lying ahead for us here in Downtown St. Louis. If you hadn’t had a chance to explore here just yet, I think you’ll be impressed when you stop by.