This post has been modified to correct the characterization of the service levels.
Next up on our tour is a look at the ballpark from its foundation.
The loading dock, which is nestled beneath Seventh Street, has long been completed and is now fully functional. That means there are trucks coming and going, and an unsuspecting tourist runs the risk of being flattened.
Loading docks to the right, VIP entrances to the left.
The adjacent parking lot, which will be used by the players and other VIPs, is also nearly complete.
No more than a few steps inside the loading dock, there is currently a large opening. Eventually this will be gone, covered by the lower seating bowl, but for now you can find yourself standing just a few feet from where the field will soon be, with a view of the whole site.
I learned several interesting things:
First, those square cement openings in the last picture will actually be therapy pools for the players!
Second, it will be possible to move all the way around the ballpark on the service level. This is possible because of a very skinny walkway which will be between the right field fence and the support structure for the plaza. Most modern ballparks do not have 360-degree access on the service level. In most cases, they wish they had included it.
Third, in certain spots there are actually two levels beneath the main concourse. This is possible primarily because of the height of the bridges which border the site (Fifth and Seventh Streets). These mezzanines are used for mechanical equipment and other "back of house" operations. It's another example of cleverness by the designers to make everything fit in such a small space.
Here's an image from across the park with labels to illustrate it (the red arrow is where I stood when taking the pictures above):
It's somewhat amazing that, despite the ballpark's compact footprint, operational compromises appear to have been not much of a factor.
Up one level and you can see a few more things -- like shirts hanging on the visitor's dugout.
Also visible in that image are the backs of two limestone panels just being delivered. It sheds a little light on how those things are assembled.
This is as good a time as any for a quick mention of bike-related issues. Here's a quick shot of the bike trail under construction (parallel to the railroad tracks):
Next, here's a view up Third Avenue toward the ballpark:
Dan explained that they hope to make some adjustments to Third to be more friendly to bikes and pedestrians. This is possible because this little section of Third is really nothing more than a freeway entrance. The concept is to realign the street to the right in this image (so it basically hugs the parking ramp), with bikeway and additional pedestrian space on the left. These will lead to bike storage facilities at the ballpark. It's another way to make the site truly multi-modal.
Before closing, here are two great images from the Intermodal Station Study. The first is a nifty ballpark rendering with all the transportation connections highlighted:
The second is a vision for what the area might look like when various planned transportation improvements are inserted:
Be sure to click the link and look at the images with labels. It's fascinating and quite hopeful.
I'll have more to say on this subject when our tour continues...
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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 3004 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Here's a quick look into the layout of the Metropolitan Club.
Gate 3 ticket window
The circulation ramp on the north now has its louver framing.
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
People! (In the Legends Club)
Suite level view
Here is the most recent outfield configuration, captured from the animation video. We probably shouldn't make too much of the logos seen on the scoreboard: Best Buy, Dairy Queen, Target, Pepsi, Dodge and Qwest...
Walkway construction is progressing
Fifth Street louvers way up close
Sue Nelson, and her organ, in one of the Twins Pubs
Original Concept - With a Retractable Roof
Also viewed from the B ramp, that's the upper deck in left field.
With the engine behind us, we got a real sense of how fast we were going by looking out the front (back) window
Dave St. Peter introducing the first physical models of the ballpark in June 2007
Here's a correction: The LRT platform will actually be able to load outbound trains from both sides.
Click to enlarge.
Trees also have sprouted near the topiaries
Team pennant. (Click to enlarge.)
Final Metrodome baseball sight
The right field overhang is in place, and the first base stands are starting to go in.
Building the canopy is a spectacular sight.
First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right
A closer look at the grid on the Pro Shop.
Bench seating? (Click to see hi-res version.)
Let's be honest and say that this promenade, which will face the HERC plant, won't be the most exciting part of the streetscape. It has to be provided for circulation reasons, but there won't be much to see unless vendors and other attractions take root here.
Dude, this is NOT a multi-use facility.
A mural featuring the names of a bunch of Minnesota towns.
Since pictures of the ballpark are forbidden, perhaps you'll enjoy this shot of the lovely apple tree in my front yard.
Here you can see the real beauty of the Seventh Street side, and get a solid sense of why the overall design really works. The building's purpose is clearly visible, there are numerous connections from inside to outside, scale is nicely mitigated, the stone is attractively used, materials are pleasantly mixed and truly complementary. It's just a winner in so many ways.