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How Much Room...Really

There May Be More Room to Build Ballpark Than First Thought

February 9, 2007 12:00 PM

NOTE - This article was first published on June 9, 2006. I'm bumping it up because of the current discussions about land price, and the potential need for a new site. As you can see, a better site is right under their nose...

There was another purpose for seeking out an old map of the ballpark site. In reading the text of the ballpark law, a "development area" is established which contained a reference which I could not understand:

Subd. 6. Development area. "Development area" means the area in the city of Minneapolis bounded by marked Interstate Highway 394, vacated Holden Street, the Burlington Northern right-of-way, Seventh Street North, Sixth Avenue North, Fifth Street North, the Burlington Northern right-of-way, and the Interstate Highway 94 exit ramp.

Ballpark Development Area

The official ballpark development area

There is a Holden Street on current maps, but it doesn't get near the site, so I was curious to figure out what this meant. The old maps solved this pretty quickly, as Holden Street previously extended due east from where it ends now at Royalston Avenue North all the way to where it would have intersected with North Second Avenue at the west corner of Target Center.

So I started drawing on my GoogleEarth screen capture and realized something not mentioned elsewhere: The officially defined "development area" includes the entire HERC plant site! Suddenly I imagined a scenario where the park might actually replace the HERC plant.

St. Peter put this to rest quickly. He said they had no interest in putting the ballpark on the HERC site. To the contrary, they are counting on energy from the plant to provide some heating to the park on cold days. He elaborated that the definition of the development area was simply to provide limits on where money can be spent and still considered a ballpark-related expense.

It should be noted, however, that there is an additional feature of the area definition:

Subd. 4. Property acquisition and disposition. The county may acquire by purchase, eminent domain, or gift, land, air rights, and other property interests within the development area for the ballpark site and public infrastructure and convey it to the authority with or without consideration, prepare a site for development as a ballpark, and acquire and construct any related public infrastructure.

The purchase of property and development of public infrastructure financed with revenues under this section is limited to infrastructure within the development area or within 1,000 feet of the border of the development area. The public infrastructure may include the construction and operation of parking facilities within the development area notwithstanding any law imposing limits on county parking facilities in the city of Minneapolis.

The county may acquire and construct property, facilities, and improvements within the stated geographical limits for the purpose of drainage and environmental remediation for property within the development area, walkways and a pedestrian bridge to link the ballpark to Third Avenue distributor ramps, street and road improvements and access easements for the purpose of providing access to the ballpark, streetscapes, connections to transit facilities and bicycle trails, and any utility modifications which are incidental to any utility modifications within the development area.

Ballpark Development area plus 1000 feet

The ballpark development area expanded by 1000 feet in each direction

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't claim to understand all of this language. But I do understand what 1000 feet means, and GoogleEarth makes it easy to figure out just how far that is.

Though it doesn't sound like much, it really is. Consider the second image which shows the real development area. This is a lot of territory and includes things like Target Center, all the I-394 commuter parking ramps, the Metro Transit facility to the northwest, the freeway bridges to and from I-94, Sharing and Caring Hands, and even parts of the Farmer's Market.

The way I understand it, this allows Hennepin County to spend money collected through the ballpark tax on infrastructure anywhere within the yellow area to improve streets, parking, drainage, build the pedestrian bridge across 394, and other such things that a ballpark requires.

It's an interesting provision, and allows for some flexibility in creating all the other support structures which go with any stadium. For example, it's presumed that the Twins will have business offices at or near the site, and there are all of the support requirements (for concessions, at least) which might normally be incorporated into the structure itself which may need to spread out a bit because of the limited space available.

Still, 1000 feet sounds like less than it turns out to be. This makes me want to look more closely at how the county might put this provision to work.

Up next: Roof talk!

Comments


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May we view, this latest "hurdle" involving land acquisition for the new stadium as possibly a blessing; an opportunity for the "powers that be" to now get the new stadium built right. Twins fans keep hearing that the organization and government powers do not want to build this stadium "on the cheap". But, if the current proposals continue to move forward, it's in my opinion that the public is doomed to receive a "white elephant" of a stadium. And may I suggest that within 20-25 years, we will be hearing the cries for a yet again another new ballpark. It is a preposterous plan for us to even consider building a stadium in Minnesota without a retractable roof. And if a retractable roof were to ever become a reality, whether during initial construction or post construction, a new, larger site MUST be explored and considered. To Mr. Opat, and others who have the power to make such changes, PLEASE consider a new ballpark site: one with room for large parking lots and plans for a "retractable" roof, either initially, or for retrofit in the future. Having traveled recently in the Seattle area, Safeco Field, and hence Seattle, should be used as a model of a city and ballpark that "got it right" when building a new facility. What an amazing complex that is Safeco field, a true testament to the city of Seattle; a facility that will prove to be viable for many many years to come.

Posted on February 12, 2007 at 7:53 PM by Zuber Highlight this comment 1

The fact that a small group of land owners are using the Twins Warehouse District site as leverage to increase their profits by a large margin is not a blessing in my opinion.

Did the Twins jump the gun by not taking care of this land issue before legislation? Obviously, but Zuber please check the 'To Roof or Not to Roof' page on this site. There are plenty of reasons why a stadium in Minneapolis shouldn't have a roof.

You also note, "PLEASE consider a new ballpark site: one with room for large parking lots."

While the Warehouse District site won't be in the middle of a huge parking lot like Miller Park, Turner Field, or the Phillies new park, the current site will be best for the fans. One of the reasons Wrigley Field is so popular is that the stadium is surrounded by bars, clubs, and restaurants.

With 81 home games a year not only will downtown Minneapolis prosper financially, but millions of fans will be within walking distance to pre/post game bars and restaurants. If the novelty of the new stadium starts to wear off after five seasons like it has in Milwaukee, at least fans attending Twins games will have another entertainment option within walking distance to supplement the new park.

In Milwaukee they have a huge parking lot on site, an ugly roof, a little league field, and not a single place to meet with other fans before and after games. The current Warehouse district site isn't perfect, but it's close, and far better than any other site in the Twin Cities.

Oh and I hope you could enjoy the mountains and scenic beauty from your seats at Safeco, oh wait, it's pretty tough to see those mountains from inside the park because of the roof.

Posted on February 13, 2007 at 3:31 PM by tito Highlight this comment 2

Zuber, ever read Patrick Reusse. Very topical.

Posted on February 14, 2007 at 11:33 PM by Matt Highlight this comment 3

tito is right, no roof is better and milwaukee sucks

Posted on February 18, 2007 at 4:28 PM by Kevin Highlight this comment 4

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"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."

– Bernie Williams

Explore the Site

Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.


Having fun. Installing limestone. Good gig.






Do you think somebody's already cooking hot dogs out there?



This view, from the Minnekahda building (or possibly a predecessor), looks toward the right field corner. The City Market, at left, occupied the land where the B ramp and Target Plaza now stand (over I-394). And the Overlook now juts out just a little beyond where that driveway enters the railyard.









This shows the area where the Northstar platform connects with the ballpark (that translucent oval). Above that is the area which will house the Twins operations offices.






This is the view from where the plaza will connect to the walkway on the west side of Target Center. This presumably aids traffic flow back to the A ramp, and perhaps to the skyway connection (though the doors to the skyway right there are typically exit only).



This looks toward the middle of the park. The third base side of the Legends Club is to the right up ahead, while the 573 Club is just barely visible at the end of the hallway. It extends to the left.



Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)



The splendid view from the roof of the Minikahda building. (Click to enlarge greatly.)



Here's the view of the entrance ramp to 394. Looks like they are painting...






Believe it or not, the actual outfield wall will be about where this fence is now!





















The moat walkway viewed from across the park.









Hey! An unnumbered gate!






View level as seen through the Seventh Street circulation ramp






Here's one big problem with a retractable roof: completely terrible seating in left. These scant few seats would have been tucked under the track. No sunshine, no open concourse, it was a terribly kludgy idea. With some hindsight, it's very clear that adding a retractable roof on this small site would have required compromises which would have just been too extensive to tolerate. Without it, the design was free to grow into something much more memorable.






Life in the shadows



Train. (What is it about baseball and trains?)



Notice that the wooden-backed club seats are now covered by a green tarp for protection from the elements.









Main concourse, looking toward the admin building.



Tickets!



Lonely vendor...



Supports viewed from beneath. These seats will be just a few feet from the outside edge of the building!



4th inning in the thinning crowd of the Grandstand.



Killebrew's mammoth shot on June 3, 1967 is currently memorialized on a wall at the Mall of America



A mass of rebar and complicated cable runs ready for a pour.



Signature trees?



Just some of the lumiaries who turned out for the unveiling (Terry is clearly thinking about Sidney Ponson).



Earl Santee, principle architect for HOK Sport, presents some concepts while Mike Opat listens






The start of the VIP entrance and loading dock.






Looking up toward Seventh Street.



The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.


Glossary

BPM - Ballpark Magic

BRT - Bus Rapid Transit

DSP - Dave St. Peter

FSE - Full Season Equivalent

FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)

HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

HPB - Home Plate Box

HRP - Home Run Porch

LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)

NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

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Book and six ballpark miniatures
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