REAL ESTATE

Ballpark Village in St. Louis opens first phase

BY Michael Fickes

St. Louis — The Cordish Cos. and the St. Louis Cardinals celebrated the grand opening of the $100 million first phase of Ballpark Village on March 27.

The construction of Ballpark Village represents the next step in the Cardinals’ vision for downtown St. Louis that began with the opening of the $411 million privately financed Busch Stadium in April 2006.

Located on 10 acres just north of Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village is one of the first master-planned developments designed around a new MLB ballpark. The approximately 120,000-sq.-ft. multi-story first phase peers over Busch Stadium’s centerfield wall and looks like an extension of stadium. The project was carefully crafted to compliment the energy and excitement of the Cardinals’ game day experience, while also functioning as a year-round attraction by itself.

Ballpark Village features five live performance stages, the largest retractable roof of its kind in the United States, one of the biggest indoor TV screens in the Midwest and an outdoor festival space that recreates the infield of the previous Busch Stadium in its exact historical location.

The first phase of Ballpark Village is anchored by Cardinals Nation, FOX Sports Midwest Live!, the Budweiser Brew House, PBR St. Louis – A Cowboy Bar, Howl at the Moon and Drunken Fish.

A 34,000 sq. ft. venue on four levels, Cardinals Nation features a two-story restaurant and bar, an 8,000-sq.-ft. Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, a retail store featuring game-used memorabilia, and a 334-seat roof top deck with game views.

At the heart of Ballpark Village is the central gathering place known as FOX Sports Midwest Live!, a 20,000-sq.-ft. entertainment marketplace with a massive 15.5-ft. high, 29-ft. wide LED screen, four 90-inch LED TVs and nine 50-inch LED TVs.

The space features a live performance stage and built in concert lighting.

On the second floor, a new Fox Sports Midwest studio will produce more than 200 shows per year. The studio looks directly into Busch Stadium from behind the anchor desk.

The Cardinals Live pre-game and post-game shows will air live from the studio for home and road games.

The Budweiser Brew House is a three-level, 26,000-sq.-ft venue with an outdoor beer garden, an interior inspired by Anheuser-Busch and Budweiser’s heritage, a live performance stage and a rooftop deck with a view of St. Louis Cardinals games.

PBR St. Louis – A Cowboy Bar offers a large dance floor, soft-seating lounge area, private outdoor balconies, multiple bars and a mechanical bull to satisfy the PBR — Professional Bull Riders — of the bar’s name.

The Howl at the Moon Dueling Piano Bar spans 5,000 sq. ft. and features modern saloon style décor, high top tables and a center bar with TVs.

The locally owned Drunken Fish is a premier Midwestern sushi restaurant. It offers a private dining room, glowing LED tables, open air seating, large screen TVs and live entertainment on game days and weekends.

The first phase of Ballpark Village includes the development of the site infrastructure for the future build out of the entire 10-acre site. The remaining pad-ready development sites will allow for future phases to be developed more quickly since the basic infrastructure is already in place. In future phases, the team hopes to add residential, office and retail, as well as more restaurants and entertainment venues to the mixed-use neighborhood.

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FINANCE

Brookstone preparing to file bankruptcy; eyes acquisition by Spencer’s

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Saddled with high levels of debt and sluggish sales, Brookstone Inc. is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection, with a plan already in place to be bought by specialty retailer Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc.

"While we have implemented various successful cost-cutting initiatives, the search for a strong strategic partner who shares our vision and passion was a natural progression,” Jim Speltz, Brookstone president and CEO said in a statement. “We think we have found that in Spencer Spirit and are excited about the opportunity to begin leveraging the resources of the two companies and popularity of the Spencer, Spirit, and Brookstone brands."

Spencer, which is based in Egg Harbor, N.J., operates Spencer’s and Halloween seasonal retailer Spirit stores. It has been in discussions with Brookstone for weeks and both companies are looking to finalize sale paperwork, the Wall Street Journal said.

Spencer is expected to pay around $120 million for Brookstone, according to the report.

Based in Merrimack, N.H., Brookstone currently operates approximately 250 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico. The specialty retailer was taken private in 2005 by a group of investment firms.

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FINANCE

Wal-Mart files $5 billion suit against Visa over card fees

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. filed suit with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas suing Visa for $5 billion, alleging that the financial services company overcharges on the credit and debit card swipe fees it charges retailer.

The suit claims that Visa colluded with banks to fix swipe fees between January 2004 and November 2012, forcing it to raise prices and reduce customer service, resulting in lost retail sales.

Wal-Mart claims the swipe fees violated federal antitrust regulations and generated $350 billion for card issuers and banks during the period covered by the suit.

Wal-Mart would not publicly comment on the possibility of suing MasterCard. Other major retailers that did not take part in the class action settlement include Target and Amazon.com.

In December, a judge approved a settlement over card fees between 19 merchants and Visa and MasterCard. The settlement was originally valued at $7.25 billion. But it was reduced to about $5.7 billion because some retailers opted out.

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