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Archive for Thursday, December 4, 2003

Cards offer look at planned stadium

December 4, 2003

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— As the St. Louis Cardinals move closer to the anticipated groundbreaking for their new $400 million stadium project, team officials Wednesday presented updated images of what the ballpark would look like.

The team posted computer renderings of the 46,000-seat stadium on its Web site and William DeWitt III, the team's vice president of business operations, showed the images of the red brick, steel and glass structure to reporters.

DeWitt said the renderings were the result of "a thousand little decisions made" to tweak the ballpark design. The last time the Cardinals updated the public on the stadium's design was with watercolor images in the spring of 2000, he said.

"These are a quantum leap forward from where we were a few years ago back," DeWitt said.

Neither the designs nor the financing for the ballpark are complete.

The updated images of the ballpark would closely resemble the final product, DeWitt said, but the designs must be brought from a more general glance to precise measurements of feet and inches. On financing, Dewitt said the Cardinals were "pretty close."

"We are putting the final touches on whatever legal documentation," DeWitt said. "There are just so many documents involved in something of this nature. But we're ready to go in terms of committed parties."

The only remaining money to be secured before ground-breaking is private funding for the stadium.

The St. Louis County Council Tuesday agreed to sell $45.6 million in bonds to support the project. The state has approved $43 million in state tax credits and funding and $48 million in bonds. Cardinals owners will also contribute $50 million to the stadium project and $60 million to commercial development of adjacent areas. DeWitt said the Cardinals hoped to announce final financing details soon.

"We haven't locked in a specific date, but we want to do it before Christmas and Christmas isn't too far from now," DeWitt said. "We're close."

Ground-breaking would occur shortly after financing is secured, DeWitt said. The stadium is scheduled for completion by Opening Day 2006.

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