Ballpark Village drawing business and big dollars away from Wash -

Ballpark Village drawing business and big dollars away from Washington Avenue

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By Brendan Marks By Brendan Marks

( -- You’ve heard a lot about the success of Ballpark Village, but there is a flip side to that success as a number of businesses around St. Louis report that revenues are down, specifically on Washington Avenue.

Amer Hawatmeh is the general manager at Copia Restaurant and he said Washington Avenue was bustling with excitement, but that was two years ago. He cites negative publicity of the area and the opening of Ballpark Village are the reason his business is hurting.

“Our business has been impacted obviously,” Hawatmeh said, “Our happy hour business has been impacted. There are bars up there, their numbers are detrimental to their survival.”

Ballpark Village reportedly took in $4.5 million in revenue last month and Hawatmeh said in the past a fair share of that would have been spent at 40 to 50 Washington Avenue businesses. Lola’s has already closed down and the building is for lease and Hawatmeh said another three or four businesses are on the brink of closing.

Dana Kay lives on Washington Avenue and while she said she’s seen the impact, she said the area can rebound.

“Washington Avenue has a lot of rich history,” Kay said, “has a lot of amazing architecture and it has a lot of heart.”

Kay is working with Washington Avenue businesses on a project called STLlive to bring customers back. The plan calls for live music every Friday night all year long.

“We don’t want to compete directly, we just want to continue to add to downtown St. Louis and its revitalization,” Kay added.

“If Washington Avenue does not succeed, downtown will fail,” Hawatmeh, “This is Washington Ave for god sake. This is the history of downtown St. Louis. The last thing we want is see Washington Avenue become like it was in the 60’s and 70’s and become a desolate street. That’s not what we need in St. Louis.”

The STLlive on Washington Avenue kicked off last week and it features a wide genre of music and live locations stretch from Tigin’s near 4th Street all the way out to Hiro Asian Kitchen at 14th Street. 

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