Cardinals make case for Ballpark Village subsidy

Even with public subsidies covering almost 30 percent of the cost of Ballpark Village’s $220 million second phase, the city of St. Louis and its schools should still see a net benefit, city officials said Wednesday.

But the incentives sought by the St. Louis Cardinals and their development partner, Cordish Cos., were high enough that the proposal didn’t win a glowing review from number crunchers in the city’s economic development office.

That arm of the city, the St. Louis Development Corporation, did endorse the latest Ballpark Village proposal. Yet based on its analysis of public help and new taxes generated, SLDC financial analyst Jonathan Ferry told an aldermanic committee Wednesday that the project was “right at the cusp” of what the city considers an adequate score: 24 out of 40 possible points.

The analysis is part of a new push from City Hall to better quantify and scrutinize the tax breaks handed out to projects large and small across the city. Aldermen spent much of Wednesday morning studying the complex financing package submitted by the Cardinals and Cordish, questioning the amount of new revenue the city could expect and how much business would be shifted from current establishments downtown.

A vote to advance the agreement with the Cardinals to the full board of aldermen is expected later this year. There, the Cardinals and Cordish need to win approval to tap roughly $65 million in public incentives over the next two decades.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Business Journal

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