Frigid Plaza Progress
February 12, 2008 2:39 AM
"It was a mighty fierce something cold out there today, let me tell ya!"
My great-grandmother might have said something like that. Her parents came over from Norway and were shipped all the way to South Dakota where they built a sod house and raised approximately 16 children (a few didn't make it, but I've never been completely clear on the math).
Days like today remind me of those hearty prairie people of my (and probably your) ancestry. What did they do when the temperature went so far down and the wind came so far up?
Did they put on heavy construction overalls, gloves and hard hats and continue building the ballpark? I just don't know. But a bunch of guys did today out behind Target Center. I walked across the 7th Street bridge to get a picture of the work going on over the tracks and nearly froze my nose. (Was it worth it?)
But the place was crawling with activity -- much of it taking place on the nascent plaza over the freeway.
A plaza is certainly starting to take shape.
But if you're confused by what it looks like now, join the club. Barring some unforeseen seismic activity that plaza is going to be a pretty hilly place. Or not. We probably don't have enough information. (Actually, read on and there's a partial answer in the model pictures below.)
Here's the detail of the plaza from the site plan published by the team last summer.
(Eagle-eyed Twinsfest goers would have noticed that updated diagrams were hanging in the ballpark booth. But I was so sure I'd be able to get them digitally that I didn't take any pictures of them. I won't make that mistake again because it hasn't worked out this time...)
I show this to give you an idea of where they might be going based on the early ideas of how it will connect to Second Avenue (assuming that it will not initially connect directly to First Avenue as was originally hoped).
At the intersection with Seventh Street, the plaza will wrap around the emergency exit stairs tower supporting that long skyway. It will replace the little sidewalk that is there now.
At the foot of Sixth Street (next to the B ramp), the plaza will go over the entrance to the B ramp then duck under the skyway, presumably arriving at the level where a sidewalk would be if there were one there now (it's been a lane of the exit ramp until now). It seems like steps may be required there, but I don't think that's in the plan. Here's a look at that area (the covered piers at left will support the plaza):
You can see in the diagram that there's an indication of a connection to the skyway, and I heard that they still plan to build some sort of staircase connecting the plaza to the B ramp, but I'm not sure exactly where. This is a pretty old drawing, so we can only learn so much from it.
Now to the model... As was pointed out below, the plaza on the model is completely flat. Or is it? Look closely here and you will see steps:
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
In fact, it looks like the model does reflect a slope down, with some stone accents to delineate it for pedestrians. What other details have we all missed...? (Click any image to enlarge dramatically.)
First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
A look at Gate 34.
Banners on the parking ramp are a great touch. They help manage scale and turn a lemon into lemonade. On my way there today I passed the WCCO building and remembered how the Twins schedule used to be painted in giant form on the side of that building (which is no longer visible). Wouldn't that be a great thing to resurrect on the side of that ramp? A giant Twins schedule. I always thought that was cool.
Also warming things up are these planters.
They help create a psychological safe area along the plaza edge, and help you forget that cars are zipping by directly beneath you.
The Pro Shop.
One thing that the design disguises nicely is that the Pro Shop (and other key components) are actually built over lanes of freeway. That can clearly be seen here.
This area will supposedly show the Twins chronology. Will it stretch back to 1901?
The entrance at Gate 3.
Special guests in the trees!
Finally, I realized as I took this shot that you can actually now see concourse floor that we will all walk on one day on the way to or from a game. Imagine that.
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This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.
"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.
Wind veil install from across Seventh
The plaza as viewed from across the park. The right field overhang section will be built just in from where the plaza supports are.
Trains now rumble regularly beneath the promenade.
Air conditioning condensation on the floor.
What has been actually built so far is only a tiny subset of this vision.
The tower is actually finished, though it looks like a work in progress.
Another over-my-head shot
The main concourse.
Building the canopy is a spectacular sight.
The brick has been tinted where the circulation ramp meets the admin building.
The Polo Grounds (left) and Shibe Park (Connie Mack Stadium)
Which way to the skyway? Really??
Two concepts here remain in the final design. First is the oddly-shaped pavilion in center. Second is the section just above the right field fence. In the current design this section will hang over the field by a few feet. The original doesn't do that, but you can see that the concept goes way back in the planning.
The Pro Shop.
Future home of the Met Stadium flag pole
Infield dirt used as accents
The dessert carts came out earlier, and looked even better than last year.
Look beyond the gigantic hand (a hounds tooth jacket? really?) and you'll get a glimpse of the main grandstand configuration. The two (or is it three?) levels of suites are visible, as is the design of the so-called "split upper deck," and the extensive use of limestone for decorative accents. Let's hope these little touches don't get cut as costs increase, because they make a nice tie-in from the outside of the park to the inside. Of most interest to me is the way that the very best seats are physically separated from all the rest of the seats by that limestone. There will be virtually no way to sneak into these seats. On one level, that's a somewhat sad design feature...
How many times did we water down our field as kids? More times than we played games, that's for sure!
Door to the visitor's clubhouse.
Speakers spaced evenly among the lights
Working on the connecting LRT tracks (this view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown.)
Two train stations
Walkway entrance from ramp
The limestone now wraps around onto the HERC side.
Here is one of the concept drawings referenced (but not shown) in the MPR story (conceptual ballpark at left, LRT tracks switched to the north half of the Fifth Street bridge, which is actually in all of the long-range plans).
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
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures