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...
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.
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.
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.
"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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
Dedicated closed-captioning ribbon board
This is the left field pavilion in the original concept model. The restaurant pictured to its right has been moved, and the seating area has been extended at least one full section toward center.
Somebody asked how long it would be before the tarp had a sponsor. Well, not very long.
What are they hanging over there?
Team pennant. (Click to enlarge.)
The lot within the lot.
We'll be packed into the first five rows of section 136. Hey, Wilson! I'm bringing my glove!
The Hennepin Grille appears to feature chicken, brats, and fries.
Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.
Suite level view
First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right
I love these upper neighborhoods.
Legends Club seats feature in-seat service
A photo taken as my meter ran out.
Row indicators are spray-painted with stencils over rust and peeling paint.
The suite mock-up
That is the gun-metal gray wall of The Stadium just beyond the elevated tracks.
Press box, hallway to the print room
Midway Stadium (seen from our tailgating spot across the parking lot)
ATM-style ticket machines have appeared beneath the steps to the B ramp (you can also enter the B ramp directly by walking past the ticket machines)
Here's another view up Sixth Street toward where the plaza will meet First Avenue (it will hug Target Center all the way).
These stairs will go up to the centerfield pavilion.
Lots of sun, but not much scoreboard from 127
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
Party deck down the right field line
This would have been the HERC side, though it's unclear just how far over the plant the retracted roof would have gone. My fear was always that they would have to shorten the track and more of the roof would have stayed over the ballpark. The only good retractable roof is one which disappears when not in use. I don't think they could have realistically created such a thing.
Jose Alvalade XXI Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal has towers much like I'm imagining to hold up our canopy while also making a bold statement on the horizon
At TF, you never know when you may bump into a Pohlad