It's been vewy, vewy qwiet out there... That could be a good thing. That could be a bad thing. There's just no way to tell. Mike Kaszuba reports in the Strib today that granting air rights for a condo tower may become the key to a negotiating breakthrough.
The real good news implied by his report is that conversations are clearly taking place. Talking is the best first step you can make. Plus, talking privately -- and not in front of cameras -- has much greater potential for making progress.
So, assuming a deal can be struck someday (not yet a safe assumption by any means), one thing is certain: any ballpark built on the Rapid Park site will be surrounded by high-rise condos. I can't say for sure, but this has the potential to be a truly unique feature of the ballpark.
Ballparks seem to be built in one of two conditions: isolated or integrated. Miller Park is isolated (surrounded by parking lots and freeways, essentially built in an industrial area), while Wrigley Field is integrated (with people living across the street one direction and going to restaurants the other direction).
There are actually two types of integration: commercial and residential. Jacobs Field and Comerica Park are integrated to a degree with their surroundings, but only with commercial activities. Nobody lives nearby. Camden Yards is only semi-integrated (despite its reputation) because there are big psychological barriers surrounding it (parking lots and a major roadway separate it from most everything else, including residences). The Metrodome is about as isolated as such facilities get.
But putting up a bunch of high-rise condos where people can live and watch games from their balconies takes residential integration to a new -- and very exciting -- level. Somehow, I like the idea of having big buildings standing poised for the next pitch. This assumes, of course, that they will be architecturally sympathetic (not a guarantee).
Since the park (if built there) will be as urban as they come, why not capitalize on that and make it a substantial part of the character of the neighborhood? That kind of vitality is contagious. If they can make sure that the first floors of those buildings are commercial, all the better. It could be the birth of a great new neighborhood.
Plus, that's the kind of place I want to retire to!
UPDATE: The Pioneer Press also weighs in today on the subject. They're reporting on a statement made by Pogin in 2001 that $10 million was a good value for the land. He says that info is irrelevant to today's market, but the county says, "Vewy intewesting."
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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
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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.
The Carew lounge was all ready for some corporate event.
Finished product (Field Terrace)
Above the Carew gate
The lot within the lot.
Polo Grounds facade, obscured
At one point, we thought these windows might represent one of the so-called knotholes. But nope. Nothing to see here. (Nearest I can tell, there will be no view of the playing field whatsoever from the Seventh Street sidewalk.)
Bassett Creek's original path (Source: Metropolitan Design Center)
I'm not sure why there's a wreath on Gate 3. (I quickly checked the headlines for any dreaded Killebrew news. Whew.) It looks to be in celebration, maybe of the move.
Here's a correction: The LRT platform will actually be able to load outbound trains from both sides.
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...
Another B ramp glimpse (don't loiter here!)
Here's a rack of lights being prepared for lifting into the canopy.
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
Walkway construction is progressing
Wind veil install from across Seventh
Photo by Jeff Ewer (Click to enlarge.)
This looks south and shows the track configuration for Northstar. The platform shown is just a placeholder. To the best of my knowledge, concept drawings for this platform have not been released. Keep in mind, this is NOT part of the ballpark project. It is completely separate.
The Northstar station.
In the top of the 9th, the sun hit our backs and summer took one last long look.
The Metropolitan Club (click to enlarge)
From the B ramp, 6th level elevator lobby window
Train. (What is it about baseball and trains?)
Photo by Jeff Ewer
"Hey, Ma, it says here we go in at gate 34. Must be all the way around on the other side!" Seriously, though, this is a really inspired idea.
An alternate route into downtown. (Click to get an interactive map.)
Met Stadium seat colors (click for the complete image)