Cardinals finalize financing for $387.5 million ballpark
By CHERYL WITTENAUER, Associated Press Writer
December 23, 2003
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals completed financing Tuesday for the new downtown ballpark it hopes to move into in April 2006.
Busch Stadium, which opened in 1966 and was home to two World Series championships and Mark McGwire's record setting 70th home run, will be demolished after the 2005 season. Work on the new $387.5 million ballpark began Monday, and the official groundbreaking is set for Jan. 17.
The new ballpark, to be built adjacent to the current stadium, will be owned by the Cardinals and financed with $200.5 million in private bonds, which the team must repay, $90.1 million in cash and loans obtained from the team's owners and a a $45 million loan from St. Louis County, $9.2 million in construction fund interest, $30.4 million in state tax credits and $12.3 from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The Cardinals must pay about $15.9 million annually for 22 years to retire the bonds.
Crews removed trees and light posts in a parking lot south of Busch Stadium Monday and the Transportation Department set up a detour for motorists who use a highway ramp.
``When we purchased the Cardinals prior to the 1996 season we made a commitment to baseball's best fans that we would do what was necessary to enhance the proud tradition of success this great franchise has enjoyed for over 100 years,'' owner Bill Dewitt Jr. said.
``Today's announcement underscores our commitment to ensure the Cardinals remain a stable, winning franchise for years to come.''
The Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums, a local advocacy group that vigorously fought a failed deal with the city, county and Gov. Bob Holden to publicly fund a new stadium, said Tuesday it will continue its efforts to place an issue on the ballot in St. Louis County that would forbid spending tax money on a stadium subsidy.
Updated on Tuesday, Dec 23, 2003 6:37 pm EST