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."
"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 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Auxiliary scoreboard (note to TF principles: this is a very good idea)
Viewed from the sidewalk on Seventh Street. No skyway infringement needed.
There are no caddies in baseball.
Uh oh. Schizophrenia.
Inside the Metropolitan Club. Classic photo of a youthful Bob Casey at far right. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
The lot within the lot.
Click to enlarge greatly.
Not much facade left to be finished at this point.
Nine spots for hops bats.
4th inning in the nearly deserted Home Run Porch View Level in left.
Looking from First Avenue toward the ballpark (over the top of a construction barricade)
Workers against green
The finished product. Note that, at toseEnds.html#P6220014a_north.jpg">
Fan number 3,030,673 came through this gate a few moments after I took this picture.
I noticed this detail while taking the previous picture. I figure that it must be the VIP entrance from the surface parking lot. I don't think there is any parking inside the ballpark, so this entrance will likely be for suite-dwellers and other VIPs, though I can't say for sure whether players will enter here.
The scoreboard also towers over the LRT tracks, which now are functional (though not open) all the way to the park -- and beyond!
These are the outside tracks which go under the promenade
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
An escalator was going in the day I was there.
Air conditioning condensation on the floor.
In addition to the Pro Shop facade, you can see more gravel being laid before the final plaza surface is poured.
This view is from the roof of a warehouse which stood where the A ramp is today. The HERC is now located where the tracks turned north (toward the top).
Skinny dugouts at TF
I would put on this face.
Also warming things up are these planters.
The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)