Cards pick Indianapolis firm to build new stadium

Friday, November 29, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- An Indianapolis firm that has built eight of the last 11 major league ballparks has been selected to build the Cardinals' new stadium.

Hunt Construction Group Inc. was selected Wednesday over three other contractors, said John Loyd, hired by the Cardinals to oversee the new stadium's construction.

"Their dedication to the challenge of building the best ballpark in America for the Cardinals led to our decision," said Loyd, who worked with the company on Jacobs Field in Cleveland.

None of the other contractors under consideration were based in St. Louis. Cardinals President Mark Lamping said much of the work would be subcontracted, allowing St. Louis companies to participate in the project.

Hunt Construction Group is working on the Philadelphia Phillies' new stadium, due to open in 2004.

Besides Jacobs Field, its list of recent projects includes the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Comerica Park in Detroit and Pacific Bell Ballpark in San Francisco.

The Cardinals want to break ground next summer and have the stadium completed for the 2006 season, Lamping said.

The team has hired a firm to find private investors and expects to close on the financing by mid-May. The project would cost $402 million, including $325 million for the ballpark itself.

Last week, the Missouri Department Finance Board approved up to $29.5 million in tax credits to help with the construction. The tax credits are intended to offset infrastructure costs, such as the relocation of utilities and roads at the privately financed downtown stadium.

The Cardinals could sell the credits and use the proceeds on the stadium.

The team has committed $50 million for the project and is seeking $12 million from the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and $45 million in hotel taxes from St. Louis County.

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