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March 8, 2007 2:04 AM

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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Supposedly a sticking point is the possibility of someone being able to see the game without paying. I'm wondering if the Twins and Hines could hammer out an agreement that the condo's couldn't construct rooftop bleachers (e.g. Wrigglyville), however if someone or a small group (less than 8) could see a game from a balcony or bedroom window, no big deal.

Posted on March 8, 2007 at 3:47 PM by DEC Highlight this comment 1

Thanks for this positive look at the air rights/parking ramp idea, Rick. I personally didn't know what to think of the idea (a condo on top of a parking ramp? how is that a good thing?) but your write up actually makes it sound perfectly OK, maybe even exciting. In fact, I hope to retire there now too!

Posted on March 9, 2007 at 2:31 PM by Shane Highlight this comment 2


This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.



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Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.


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



September 23, 2007






I saw it at another park...



This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.



Opening day, 2010



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.



Look familiar? Unfortunately, just adding little balconies with cool angles will not offset the pervading ugliness.















Ye Olde Tyme Vegetable Cart (and its modern cousin)



This is the entrance behind home plate (not visible in the renderings which have been released). It shows that the upper deck is set back from the facade -- a very good thing if it remains in the final design.












The green is a composite of the topmost seating areas in the new ballpark. The gray is a scale diagram of the Metrodome.



Today's match-up (click to enlarge)



TC gets ready to release the hounds. (Kids get to run the bases after Sunday games.)









Fencing is going up all along the plaza



The view from the Penn Ave entrance to 394 (and all the way into town! Click to enlarge)






Twins president Dave St. Peter presents his list of fan suggestions to the Ballpark Authority



Oh, nevermind.









Here we are waiting for the first train to arrive at the station (Nov 14).



Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).









The heretofore unseen north facade (click to enlarge). Does it look like a ballpark? And what's with the bamboo?



That's Noah and my brother, Chris, checking out the Loge Box amenities



Having fun. Installing limestone. Good gig.



At left, across the tracks by that pile of dirt is where the Northstar commuter train platform will be built, and where Twins fans will apparently NOT be able to get a train after night games. (For reference, that's the Fifth Street bridge, with the ballpark site just beyond it. The east corner of Ford Centre is just visible at the right edge of the picture.)






Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)



Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)






Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)






This concourse, the uppermost, was built on top of the now-hidden old concourse during the 70s renovation.



The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.






The green in question (click for very large version)



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








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MOA - Mall of America

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