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Communication, People

February 28, 2007 10:43 PM

Thinking about this land deal gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach. But I've spent some time over the last couple of days rereading the media coverage, as well as a large amount of discussion on other sites (special thanks to Shane and all the contributors over at The Greet Machine), and I've come away feeling like I missed something very important in my previous analysis.

Mike Opat

Mike Opat (Source: Hennepin County)

Deals are made between people. People who like one another are generally able to negotiate more successfully than people who do not. But even parties who do not like one another can make deals work if they at least talk to one another.

Pogin and Lambrecht

Rich Pogin (left) and Bruce Lambrecht (Source: Skyway News)

Over and over I've gotten the feeling that the Hennepin County team simply thought they didn't have to talk to Land Partners II. I think they assumed that this was already a done deal because LPII had been so deeply involved in getting the legislation passed.

What's more, I think they assumed that all they had to do was make an offer which looked like it was descended from the now-expired 2004 deal with the city and everything would be just fine. It would make sense that those were the instructions given (spoken or unspoken) to their appraiser. Without knowing all the gory details, it looks like the offer they made fits that description -- lowballed a little bit from that, of course, but just so there would be room for conversation.

But anyone who has ever been either a buyer or a seller in real estate -- or anything major, for that matter -- knows that silence is almost the worst thing you can do to a deal. In silence, parties imagine things and get crazy ideas. Their fears tend to get the better of them, and they start to suspect that either A) the deal is off, or B) they're about to get screwed.

Silence ices trust, and without trust no deal can happen.

So it must be acknowledged that Opat et. al. really bungled this thing by waiting almost eight months to start talking about the land. I know that they claim they needed to jump through all the hoops first, but that's a little bit ridiculous. Governments are very scary entities to deal with, and I bet that a few casual phone calls between Mike and Bruce might have smoothed things over and prevented this whole mess.

Of course, we don't know whether anything like that happened, but the lack of communication seems to be at the root of all the comments from LPII and their apologists.

In those silent eight months, LPII had time to fret and get all sorts of wild ideas about the value of the land. They had time to devise a Strategy, which they needed because they began to fear that they were gonna get robbed. In fact, if the only thing you heard about your land was that the county had started the process of condemning it, you might freak out a little bit too.

Don't get me wrong. I still think LPII has acted poorly. But I think I'm starting to understand why.

Remember, LPII can't be faulted for wanting to maximize their profits. That's why people buy land -- to sell it at a profit. But their apparent refusal to negotiate now, after putting so much effort into the project up front, is inexcusable. Whether they intended it or not -- and whether it's true or not -- they look like they are using the details of the deal they helped create to bludgeon the public for way more money than anyone believed would have to be paid.

Jerry Bell

Jerry Bell (Source: MPR)

In fact, let's take this opportunity to summarize what we, the humble public, know about this whole thing, and see if it matches that perception:

1. The county has made an offer (based on an appraised value).
2. LPII has made no counter-offer (and offered no appraised value).

3. The county has started condemnation procedures.
4. LPII will accept the condemnation without a fight.

5. The county fears that an arbitrated price would be too high.
6. LPII would gladly accept an arbitrated price.

7. The county must use the Rapid Park site or return to the Legislature.
8. LPII would be happy to develop the land themselves without a stadium.

Looks like a match to me. LPII is clearly in the driver's seat, and they are using that position for everything it's worth. Can't say I blame them. But if it kills the stadium, they may go down in Minnesota sports history with the likes of Chuck Knoblauch and Norm Greene...

Sid reports today that Jerry Bell is humming Kum Ba Yah in everyone's ears. I can't think of a better person to get involved. It helps, of course, that his boss could settle the whole thing with his checkbook.

Call for New Ballpark Sites

Rapid Park is fading from view. So, where do you think the park should go?

Some ground rules:

Hennepin County

1. It must be in Hennepin County. (Sorry, St. Paul folks. The Legislature will never change the funding mechanism so much that Ramsey County could be included... Consult the map at right for the eligible area.)

2. It must be 10-15 acres.

3. It need not be vacant land, but it should have a willing seller.

4. Ownership by the city, state, or county is a real plus right now.

5. Skyline views are completely optional, but infrastructure is not. It must be near major freeways and/or mass transit, and have plenty of parking available.

6. Extra points if you can come up with one that nobody's mentioned yet.

I have a few already on my napkin:

1. Garbage Burner
2. Minneapolis Impound Lot
3. Brookdale (or surrounding area)
4. Parade Stadium
5. Lowry Ave and the Mississippi River
6. Mall of America swap land (my all-time favorite!) a few I'm not quite ready to say.

Add yours to the comments below, and I'll look at them all in the coming days -- unless, of course, there's a miracle in the North Loop.


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The Vikings should build a new stadium (with retractable seats) either in Saint Paul or in a suburb. The Twins can
use that venue for a few years, demolish
the Dome, and build a new ballpark on the Dome's current site. Even if the
Twins get a different location, a new
football venue should have retractable
seats if the Twins ever need at least
short term use of it (be it sooner or
years from now). A rectangular or oval
design (like the Doms) offers better sightlines for each sport than many of
the round ballparks would. Thanks.

Posted on March 1, 2007 at 08:18 AM by CK Highlight this comment 1

How about the K-Mart at Lake and Nicollet? When viewed form Google earth it looks just a bit smaller than rapid park, but as a dream what a great area for a Stadium!

Posted on March 1, 2007 at 10:17 AM by Andrew Highlight this comment 2

I was just checking in and saw your statement "I still think LPII has acted poorly." Out of curiosity, what facts do you base this opinion on? Feel free to email me.


Posted on March 1, 2007 at 1:13 PM by Rich Pogin Highlight this comment 3

What about the chunk of land on the other side of 394 from the Basilica/Dunwoody?!? On Google Maps it’s labeled Bryn-Mawr Meadows and when you see it in person, it just looks like a large open space with a pile of dirt, a railroad track, some softball fields and a parking lot.

I just think its close to downtown MPLS which the city/team like, and I’m sure it could be orientated so that the seats all looked toward the skyline in the outfield...(it even would work with the 'prevailing winds' idea).

I'm not sure who owns it, but it may be a possibility.

Just anything...SOON!

Posted on March 1, 2007 at 1:37 PM by MN Twinkies Highlight this comment 4

I don't even like the Rapid Park site anymore, because any ballpark there would have a real poor view of the skyline, with the best buildings covered, unless the park was rotated toward the skyline. Plus, the prevailing winds thing isn't necessary, because most parks don't even follow it. I think the skyline view is way more important to the design of the ballpark. After looking at the Farmers market location, it has one of the best views of the skyline, or the star tribune site west of the dome. Check out the skyline from those sights!!!

Posted on March 1, 2007 at 7:04 PM by Tom Highlight this comment 5

There are a lot of new ideas floating around for a site. My hope is that the stadium goes elsewhere and LP II gets what it deserves. A ditch by a garbage burner.

Posted on March 1, 2007 at 9:04 PM by Mark Highlight this comment 6

I have said this a million times (mostly on Greet Machine), but Pogin, Lambrecht and LPII will continue to look bad in the eye of the public until they go public with a price for thier parking lot. Until I hear differently, I will continue to assume that LPII pushed the ballpark idea for years, and when the bill finally passed, they decided to ask for 5 times what the land is worth. I have no other information to go by.

In addition, I also believe that the other ballpark sites are a moot point. I'd love nothing more than to see a change in location, but this requires a return trip to Larry Pogemiller's Legislature. This would be a death sentence for the Twins.

I believe that the land needs to be condemned, and if the court decides the parking lot is worth more than budgeted, the gap must be bridged by the Twins or city of Minneapolis. Much easier said than done, however, considering the astonishing lack of leadership at the city level.

Posted on March 2, 2007 at 5:05 PM by Jeff T. Highlight this comment 7

The Twins should avoid Rapid Park as a
site for their new stadium, because it is too small. A location with more open
space presents more opportunity for a
better ballpark/better experience than
a constrained site like Rapid Park does.

Posted on March 4, 2007 at 9:07 PM by Chris Highlight this comment 8

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 3046 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.

You'll be able to park here for a quick stop at the Pro Shop or ticket window.

Here's a correction: The LRT platform will actually be able to load outbound trains from both sides.

Looking across the top of the B parking ramp. Notice that signage will block any attempts at seeing the game from up there. Also take note of the glassed in area which is part club and part office space for the Ballpark Authority.

No admittance -- yet! Note that you can see the seating bolts which are in place already.

What has been actually built so far is only a tiny subset of this vision.

Standing, standing, standing.

Click to enlarge

End of the line.

Steps, skyway, and plaza intersect.

7:42 PM It moves to the left in the image and begins to blossom.

The canopy as viewed through the outfield stands. The lighting approach, despite what you may have heard, is actually very traditional.

A view straight on of the Pro Shop area and ticket windows (just barely visible). The piers you see beneath the plaza are already almost completed (see final photo).

Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)

Here's a quick look into the layout of the Metropolitan Club.

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The Northstar station at night

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Work in progress.

OK, just how many servings per container?

New Concept Drawing - No Roof

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Greatest spot in the city for cooking up some hot dogs. And would you kill for that grill?


Main concourse, looking south toward the area behind home plate.

For some inexplicable reason, a lot of the new parks being built these days feature grand staircases like this one.

8:32 PM The glare is gone. Elapsed time: 1 hour (approximately 3 innings).

Citi Field as viewed from Shea.


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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