April 04, 2019

Ballpark Village getting new $65 million hotel because 'St. Louis is a city of the future'

In order to compete with the marketing clout of far larger hotel chains, Jonathan Tisch knows that Loews Hotels has to differentiate itself from the competition.

The distinction for the 216-room Live! By Loews hotel under construction downtown is obvious: Busch Stadium sits right across the street.

“It’s the Cardinal Nation” 81 times a year, Tisch, Loews Hotels chairman and CEO, said about the target customers for the eight-story hotel expected to be complete in February.

New York-based Loews, a subsidiary of Loews Corp. that also owns CNA Financial Corp., Diamond Offshore Drilling and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, already operates 24 hotels around the country, with five under development. But the Live! concept is new, in partnership with Ballpark Village developer Cordish Cos. of Baltimore, and the St. Louis Cardinals ownership.

The first Live! By Loews will open this summer in Arlington, Texas, in partnership with Cordish and the Texas Rangers baseball team. Tisch said he has known Cordish Cos. CEO David Cordish for years but that the Live! concept is the first they’ve worked on together.

He was in St. Louis on Thursday to review room layouts and other details for the $65 million hotel that will join a new 297-unit apartment tower and 117,000-square-foot office building also under construction for the second phase of Ballpark Village.

“Design is really important to us,” Tisch said. “That’s why I’m here.”

With a ground-floor restaurant, open patios and views of the Gateway Arch and into Busch Stadium from the eight-story hotel, Tisch said he expects strong business from the “Cardinals diaspora” spread throughout the country.

As a co-owner of the NFL’s New York Giants, Tisch said he has experience on the sports business side of things, too, and has worked well with Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III on the project. His company is already working with the Cardinals marketing office on promotions and other deals.

The hotel will also have plenty of meeting space — 17,000 square feet — to cater to business and convention clients who may not be here only for a ballgame.

He’s optimistic about St. Louis’ prospects in general, saying it has “the same potential” as cities such as Nashville, Tenn., that have boomed in recent decades.

“St. Louis is a city of the future,” he said.

Tisch also got a plug in for the plans to expand America’s Center, the city’s convention center nearby. The $175 million convention center expansion plan, which would use money currently going to pay down nearly retired debt on the Dome at America’s Center, is awaiting action at the St. Louis County Council.

”The need for an enhanced convention center is real,” he said.

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