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Old Posted May 22, 2006, 2:53 PM
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New Minnesota Twins Ballpark Approved!

The new Ballpark was approved on sunday!

Twins ballpark dream comes true
Early Sunday, the team's stadium plan finally cleared its last legislative hurdle: Senate passage of the ballpark's financing.
Mike Kaszuba, Mark Brunswick and Paul Levystar Tribune Staff Writers

It was sunrise on Sunday. Jerry Bell, the Minnesota Twins chief stadium negotiator, had paced the Capitol floors all night as a new open-air ballpark for his team cleared its last legislative hurdle: passage by the Minnesota Senate.
"You work on something for 10 years and now it's finally over, it's finally happened. ... How can you sleep?" asked Bell.

This was the moment that Twins officials and many fans have dreamed about. By a narrow 34-32 vote, the Senate put the final touches on a $522 million stadium that will be largely built with a sales tax increase in Hennepin County to be put in place without a referendum. When the vote was announced, nearly six hours after the House had backed the proposal, the team's lengthy, controversial and at times improbable march for a new stadium had finally ended.

"Kirby Puckett's number. How appropriate is that?" Bell said, referring to the uniform number worn by the team's late Hall of Fame player. "That's perfect. I didn't want 35. We got the 34 vote. Perfect."

The stadium's estimated price tag includes $390 million for the facility's construction, $90 million for infrastructure and $42 million for financing.

The vote came the morning after the University of Minnesota also scored an impressive victory late Saturday, winning Senate and House approval to build an open-air stadium that would return football to campus after a quarter-century.

For Bell, the vote came after 10 years of consulting with lawmakers and lobbyists, fretting through meetings and occasionally, as he did Saturday, catching glimpses of Twins games just to keep calm.

Even when Bell was told Friday, as he had been several other times in the past weeks, that the deal for a new stadium was as good as done, he refused to believe it. Bell kept telling himself: "It's not a sure thing until the final moment."

But this morning, when Twins officials meet, there will be no doubt. "We've had some very tough, very tense meetings," Bell said. "But this one won't be tough."

For stadium opponents, such as Dave Bicking, there was little to celebrate the day after the vote.

"It's not entirely done," said Bicking, a Minneapolis auto mechanic. "Has Governor Pawlenty signed it yet? He hasn't, so there's a glimmer of hope."

For the Twins, the first victory came late Saturday when the House approved the stadium on a 71-61 vote. As the early morning hours wore on, the Twin stadium's prospects in the Senate seemed to hit several snags. Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, an early Senate author of the Twins stadium proposal, said some senators -- sensing the importance of the stadium to legislative leaders -- were withholding votes in an elaborate series of political horse-trading.

Other legislators were reportedly concerned about language in the Twins legislation that, while not officially sanctioning a new Minnesota Vikings stadium in Blaine, went further than many preferred in outlining a potential Vikings stadium deal that could face legislators next year.

Saturday, it was university officials who were doing the celebrating. As the final vote on the Gophers stadium was announced in the House, Gophers Athletic Director Joel Maturi clenched his fist and smiled.

University President Robert Bruininks, wearing a maroon blazer, watched from the gallery. He told reporters later: "I think this is the right thing to do, and this is the right time to do it."


mkaszuba@startribune.com • 612-673-4388 mbrunswick@startribune.com • 651-222-1636 plevy@startribune.com • 612-673-4419

©2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

http://www.startribune.com/587/story/446442.html
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Old Posted May 22, 2006, 2:56 PM
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Ballpark will cater to fans with food and a view

Ballpark will cater to fans with food and a view


With their outdoor stadium plan approved, the Twins turn their attention to the design.


Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune

Kiss the Dome Dog goodbye.
When the Minnesota Twins' new ballpark opens, probably for the 2010 season, nouvelle cuisine will be one of the obvious changes for fans.

In the baseball industry, an expanded stadium food menu adds to what's known as "the fan experience." It's a big reason the team has wanted a new baseball-only ballpark for the past decade.

Ask Twins President Dave St. Peter what it will be like for fans in the new park and he said, "In a sentence, the antithesis of the Metrodome."

With legislative passage of the ballpark bill over the weekend and a prompt signing expected from Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the 10-year Minnesota Twins lobbying effort comes to a close. Now the team will pick an architect and spend the next year designing a new ballpark. The finer points will have to wait, but much already is known about the new home.

"Tremendous intimacy" will be the feeling in the new park, St. Peter said. Situated on a mere 11 acres, this ballpark will be a snug fit for 42,000 fans, meaning they will be oh-so-close to the players and the field.

The concourse will be wide open, so fans can grab more chow without missing action. The concourses will be wider so fans won't feel like they're in a rugby scrum when they make their way in and out. There will be many more restrooms, especially for the ladies, St. Peter said.

It's estimated to cost $522 million to erect the ballpark -- $390 million for construction, $90 million for infrastructure and $42 million for financing.

So far, the most attention has been paid not to the interior of the park, but how it fits together with the North Star commuter rail, the Hiawatha light-rail corridor, the Cedar Lake bike trail and the existing buildings in the Warehouse District where it will be built.

A sense of place

A signature piece will be a new pedestrian bridge across I-394 from Target Center to the ballpark. St. Peter said the key passageway will be a much more than a walkway and will usher fans in with a dazzling view of the entire field. "The front door to the ballpark will be from the outfield," he said.

At San Francisco Giants home games, fans have a view of the Bay. In Denver, Colorado Rockies fans can see the mountains. In Seattle, Mariners fans look out over Puget Sound. In Minneapolis, the seats will look toward the downtown skyline. "When our games are televised, it will immediately resonate that this game is being played in downtown Minneapolis," St. Peter said.

Chuck Leer, a downtown developer and chairman of New Ballpark Inc., which has pushed for an urban stadium for years, said the new ballpark is going to be knitted into the Warehouse District. "It's going to be completely different than the Metrodome, which is like this gigantic orb that emerges from the ground," he said. The new ballpark, he added, "will make everything around it so much more than it is today."

Leer sees opportunities for the ballpark to help weave the Farmers Market and the Heritage Park housing development into downtown.

"The Metrodome seals you off with this terrible wall and you have to go up to get into it. The most inviting places, you go down to get inside," he said.

Twins public relations consultant Mark Andrew said the new ballpark is going to be better than fans expect. "It's like feeding a dog a meal and they're about to get steak," he said. "Everybody understands this is about raising money for the team, but the experience of the fan is never off their radar screen."

Dessert à la cart?

"A happy fan will keep coming back," Andrew said.

The team has had plenty of time to dream about what it might want in a ballpark, including the food. Will it be margaritas and dessert carts à la U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, the luscious Polish sausages at Boston's Fenway Park or the Nathan's and Hebrew Nationals at Yankee Stadium?

The team is -- ahem --salivating over the array of options. "We've never had the ability to contract with a concessionaire directly," St. Peter said. The Twins didn't control Metrodome concessions.

Fans will have to adjust to some things. "A generation of fans has never experienced baseball outdoors. That whole generation has never experienced a rainout," St. Peter said.

Options will be explored for heating the park either through the seats or radiant heat, possibly through the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), which is next door. A sun screen will be installed on a portion of the upper deck, too. The Twins originally wanted a retractable roof ballpark, but they gave that up because of cost. Current technology doesn't allow one to be added later.

"We've been thinking about this for 10 years, we have a lot of things in mind," St. Peter said.

When the team looks for the gold standard of fan experience, it's looks not to another baseball park, but to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. St. Peter said Xcel upped fan expectations for games while also serving as a hockey shrine. In the St. Paul arena, fans have food options ranging from simple sandwiches to high-end restaurants. Rows of hockey jerseys line the walls. Fans can see the game well no matter where they sit or stand.

"April 2010 will mark our 50th season in Minnesota," St. Peter said. "We certainly will want to celebrate our history with this franchise."


Staff Writer Paul Levy contributed to this report. Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747

©2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

http://www.startribune.com/462/story/446356.html

--------------------------------------------



For renderings of the new Twins Ballpark in the Warehouse District in Downtown Minneapolis go here:

Ballpark Renderings
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Old Posted May 24, 2006, 4:09 PM
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awesome! congrats MPLS!
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Old Posted May 30, 2006, 4:36 PM
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Congrats, i've been waiting for this for a long time, been going to twins games for 20 years and the dome is no place to watch baseball. I can already picture sitting in the stands looking out on downtown Minny on a beautiful summer evening with a beer and hotdog.
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Old Posted May 30, 2006, 7:44 PM
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Great news!

Can't wait for some renderings!
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Old Posted May 30, 2006, 8:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Bond Agent 007
Great news!

Can't wait for some renderings!

Here ya go!

Ballpark Renderings
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Old Posted May 30, 2006, 8:48 PM
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I was just talking to a Minneapolis resident none-too-happy about public financing this weekend.

Congrats to MN for getting an appropriate stadium for the Twins, but I hope you know what you are getting into.
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Old Posted May 30, 2006, 10:01 PM
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Wow, looks nice!

Too bad it looks like Baltimore's, Pittsburgh's, and now STL's new stadiums...hmm, am I seeing a trend here?
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Old Posted May 30, 2006, 10:38 PM
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They are just now designing the stadium, everything up to this point is preliminary.
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Old Posted May 31, 2006, 5:18 AM
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awesome...cant wait to head down for a game...

you guys shouldnt have gotten rid of koskie....fun to cheer for a local boy.
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Old Posted May 31, 2006, 7:10 AM
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Nice design!
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Old Posted Jun 1, 2006, 10:47 PM
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Not bad!







I still like Safeco Field better though.
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2006, 4:17 AM
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Here's one that's a bit more recent. Shows what's envisioned to go along with the stadium as well.
Guys, remember that they are just now choosing an architect!!

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Old Posted Jun 2, 2006, 7:28 PM
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I really hope that if HOK is chosen to design the stadium, they will use the design they used in the above renderings. I do not want to see another retro stadium. They are getting to look alot alike. They are nice but getting boring. The one shown above by 007 is more contemporary in design and I love it.
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2006, 9:24 PM
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Get those fans outside. Hurray for sunburns at the ballgame!
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2006, 5:17 AM
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Wow, that's an impressive development project!
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2006, 5:42 PM
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my family has been a Twins season ticket owner for over 20 years. This is a terrible idea. I dont know how many of you have ever been to the Twin Cities in April or September, or at the very least on a cold, rainy night, but an open-air stadium in Minnesota is a bad idea. Lots of Twins fans come from hours away or out of state. With a dome or closed stadium, they are gauranteed the game will take place, with an open air stadium the game may not even happen, or it will be far too cold to make it enjoyable. At mid-june, sure an outdoor stadium looks great, but lets get realistic here. In a few years the new owner (Pohlad will sell soon) will demand a retractable roof or leave. Lawyers seldom see a contract they cant break.
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2006, 7:43 PM
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its not any worse(weatherwise) than many other cities with open air stadiums...

I can't find it now, but I did a comparison to other cities with open air stadiums a while back, I compared avg early season temps/rain in Mpls, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Cincinatti, and NYC. All mid april avg highs were between 60 and 65, and mid may highs between 67 and 74, MInneapolis fell right in the middle. Also, Mpls averages less rainy days than any of those cities besides Denver. So basically, any of these places, especially ones near the great lakes(lake breeze) are prone to early baseball season rain/cold, some more so than Minneapolis. Boston was the coldest and wettest.
I got my numbers from weather.gov(national weather service)
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2006, 11:17 PM
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Theres too much foul territory, the fans need too be closer
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2006, 11:20 PM
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Theres too much foul territory

QFT
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