ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Wearing a hard hat and neon yellow safety vest, Jim Watry points to the glass roof that covers a large portion of Ballpark Village, across the street from Busch Stadium.
"It's retractable," said Watry, Ballpark Village chief operating officer. "So when it opens up all the way it's a 50x100-foot opening."
From the retractable roof to the 36-foot television monitor, Watry is convinced St. Louis is months away from an entertainment destination.
"We designed our marketing plan to make sure we're busy all year round," said Watry. "Concert series in the winter; festivals all year long. We'll do a lot of watch parties that'll fill the place up. We want you here for lunch, happy hour, dinner, late-night, and it's a lot of evolving, the marketing plan; making sure you have a great events going all year round."
Watry's guided tour of the Ballpark Village construction site includes more than 300 new rooftop seats for watching the Cardinals, with standing room for several hundred more. Watry brings six years of experience as district manager of the Power and Light Entertainment District, a development he says revitalized downtown Kansas City.
"I was the first employee there and got it up and running and it's been very successful. We're having the best year ever there," Watry said.
Watry sees Ballpark Village having the same affect on downtown St. Louis.
"Based on experience, hopefully it will be a catalyst for new development radiating from downtown, whether it be residential, office space, more bars and restaurants," he said.
Watry says Ballpark Village hiring is underway.
"Right now we're interviewing for the executive team: director of marketing, director of sales, promotions director."
By the March 27 grand opening, he expects 1,100 job openings will have been filled. Watry said anyone hoping to land a job should register with the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE). There will be a job fair starting in January for hospitality workers.
The Parkway South High School grad says Ballpark Village has been on his radar for years.
"When I heard about Ballpark Village seven years ago I was very intrigued," he said.
At present, Watry is an I-70 commuter most weekends to see his wife and two children in Kansas City.
"I usually go back Saturday morning and then I drive back early Monday to get back this way," said Watry. "Looking forward to getting a house here."
Watry is glad that a job he loves has brought him home to St. Louis, where he grew up a Cardinals fan.
"It's beyond exciting. I'm doing what I love in the hospitality business with the best partner in the world across the street."
For information about registering for Ballpark Village jobs, https://stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/slate/ or call 314-589-8000.