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Twins Ballpark Woes(?)

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I think everyone feels the same way this guy does because it is becoming increasingly clear that Hennepin County and the entity that owns some of the land slated for the new ballpark are coming to loggerheads over the acquisition of the last parcels of land for the new ballpark. The City Pages had a good article on this subject this week and my good buddy Shane at Greet Machine has been lamenting over the land acquisition for weeks now. To further muddy the waters, a couple of Hennepin County Commissioners said over the weekend that they are pursuing alternative ballpark locations within the County! Which if true would surely need state legislative approval and would definitely delay the ballpark opening at least one year if not two.

But is it true? Are the County/Twins really serious about a different ballpark location? Is the land acquisition process really in danger of slowing down or stopping the development of a Twins Ballpark at the Rapid Park site? I argue no it’s not.

First if you need some background on this subject, please go over to Greet Machine. Shane’s site is the only place where you are going to get all the inside information on the ballpark. Plus it’s well established that all the parties involved (County, Land Owners, Twins Officials, Sid Hartman, Politicians, etc.) read the site and from time-to-time and slip nuggets of information to Shane.

The fact is that the County/Twins are moving full steam ahead on the Rapid Park site. Just today there is an article in the Strib that indicates that the ballpark designers have come up with a solution to the bike trail that intersects the ballpark site. In addition, the Twins are still planning to reveal ballpark renderings on February 15th. But more importantly, the County IS quietly taking steps to acquire the Rapid Park site.

The fact is that the County will be able to gain control of the land through the Quick Take process. In fact I think LPII (Land Owners) has even agreed to this. That's the key. The County/Twins can go forward with design, move dirt around, put out bids for construction, etc. During all this somewhere in the bowels of the court system the eminent domain process is going through the meat grinder. Twelve months from now we will have a ballpark design, perhaps a ballpark name, City/County approvals are in place, permits issued, infrastructure being built, contracts being let, sales tax revenues being collected, and the eminent domain hearing will end. Either the County has enough $$$ or it doesn't. If it doesn't THEN there is consternation. Either we have to hit up the Twins for more land acquisition costs or go back to the legislature. It will be tough at the legislature but with the fact that the ballpark is a real deal now (designs, permits, contracts, etc) even the son of Phil Krinkie would be hard pressed to say no to authorizing the County to pay a little more than $90 M for land/infrastructure (I'm sure there would be no need for additional sales tax revenue).

Right now I think all we are seeing is some public posturing by the County and LPII so that they look like the heroes and the other guy looks like a goat when these bumps occur. It's something that happens every day in complicated real estate deals however with a high profile project like the Twins ballpark, it's just getting a little more sunshine. That’s all. Until I hear otherwise, I look forward to seeing the new renderings next week.

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» I am a little flummoxed from Greet Machine
UPDATE: For a more optimistic take on all of this, please check out Freealonzo's Lost Forest After Dark and more specifically his post Twins Ballpark Woes(?). Good stuff. Also, the comments below have some very interesting thoughts on this situation.... [Read More]

» My synopsis of the situation from Greet Machine
What a dumb hobby for me to pick. Stadiums in Minnesota. Just plain stupid on my part. Nothing but pain and suffering. I guess as a Vikings fan I am kind of used to it though. And do any of... [Read More]

Comments

I would expect the Twins to step up and pay the difference if it comes to that. They got a pretty good stadium deal with a comparatively low team investment. Sending this back to the legislature would make the Twins and the county look like complete idiots. Mr. Pohlad needs to buck up and shell out a few more million out of his billions to get this thing done.

I'll be surprised if they can even grab this land via eminent domain because even with the price being put forth by the county, they are stealing from genuine landowners to give to a billionaire who could buy an entire city to build his precious playground for millionaires in.

If this goes back to the legislature, I anticipate it opens up things to impose the tax metro wide rather than Hennepin County only. Remember, DFLers - and Minneapolis - gained with having both house and Senate in DFL hands.

Terri Bonoff was nearly defeated over her stadium support, and Steve Kelley's role in the stadium boondoggle deep sixed his governor and AG campaign.

Just to be clear, I think if the County/Twins went to the State legislature this year they would be laughed out of St. Paul. If they started work on the ballpark and were making progress to a 2010 opening and then went to the Legislature next year for technical changes to the ballpark bill, they would have a fighting chance.

I find it funny how people like Bruce and Sornie find it necessary to stick up for the poor and middle class by b*tching about billionaires and millionaires wanting to do business in the Twin Cities area. Face it, the Twins organization is a business just like Target, Best Buy, Medtronic or any other company (Fortune 500, public or private) who wants to have operations here. They all expect the same thing; a handout. Hell, even the new Guthrie Theater received a handout. Without state, county, or city help most of these businesses or institutions wouldn’t be here. The Twin Cities area wouldn’t exist as it does today without these businesses.

I know for sure potential owners and host cities are watching this deal closely. If this falls through, don’t be surprised to see the league step in and / or the Twins ownership start negotiations with potential owners in cities like Portland and Charlotte.

Nice.

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