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January 21, 2007

Errors of omission

I received a letter from Rich Pogin of Land Partners II fame yesterday that began:

"Shane you and BP are incorrect in your posts on what the Option says."

This was more of an error of omission than an error of malice so I think it is important to rectify the situation. If you'll recall, BP Twin sent me a document on the Twinsville web site that lists the 2004 value of the ballpark land at $12.95 million. Apparently, this is not the end of the story and demonstrates that I did not read the document close enough. Upon closer reading, there was also supposed to be a land swap to go along with the sale.

According to this City of Minneapolis website (agenda item 7), provided by Rich, in 2004 the County agreed to purchase the 8 acres of Land Partners II land for $12.95 million and give Land Partners II 4.97 acres of land located "southwesterly" and adjacent to the ballpark site. This land is referred to as the "Offset Land." The website also has a copy of the entire agreement, and a nifty PDF map of the ballpark land and all the entities that own a part of it. If you are interested you should definitely check it out.

Anyway, I think Land Partners II have taken somewhat of a beating on this site in recent weeks so I wanted to set this record straight. While $12.95 million was certainly part of the price of the ballpark land in 2004, the Offset Land promised to Land Partners II as part of the price does suggest that the $13 million left in the County budget today to purchase the land may not be enough after all. I am sorry for my shoddy reading of the original Offset Option documents. Hopefully this will clarify things and shed some more light on the subject.

The question today, however, should be is all this moot now that the County and Land Partners II may be coming to an agreement on the condemnation hearings? I asked Rich about this and he replied:

The technical way to state this is that the land owner will raise no objections to the County taking fee title to the land for the value the County assigns to it. The ultimate determination of the value of the land will then be subject to the condemnation process. Each side will be able to make its case the court. the court would then determine the “fair market value.? Thus the County can take the property as early as Jan 31 (or any time there after) and commence construction of a ballpark. In the mean time both side can continue to negotiate.

I can't say for sure that this is a done deal, but essentially Land Partners II will sell the land now with the agreement that more compensation may be appropriate as decided by the condemnation process. I wonder how this is possible given that the County is limited to $90 million overall for the land acquisition and the infrastructure. If a condemnation process decides that more compensation is necessary, where will that extra compensation come from? Once again, my ignorance knows no bounds.

All I care about is the process going forward. And it sounds like it is. Hopefully we'll get some more official reports of this new agreement soon. It sounds good but the proof is in the pudding: I want to see that first shovel full of dirt.

The real culprit in all of this is the $90 million limitation that was put into the bill in the first place. I may have to research how this clause got in there because I can't believe either the Twins or the County ever wanted it there. I seem to recall an anti-stadium legislator putting this moronic requirement in, but I can't say for sure. If anyone can recall, please let me know.

Anyway, I hope this clarifies things a bit. Sorry for the errors, and thanks to Rich for setting me straight!

Posted by snackeru at January 21, 2007 8:42 PM


It's good to see some progress is being made. I too am upset that the $90 million clause was ever included.

There is a cap to the county's overall exposure, isn't that good enough? The reason it isn't is that the Twins wouldn't agree to cover the over-runs on infrustructure.

I want to say that the $90 million clause was insterted on the House Floor. At the time it seemed such a miracle that the bill would even pass, that I don't recall anyone being alarmed by it. Also, there were several other ammendments attached in the House that were far more troubling (such as the county's share of the Twins in a sale being a perminent % for 30 years). These were all removed in the conference committee, but this one slipped through.

Posted by: David Howe at January 21, 2007 10:22 PM

Shane, just to follow-up, I think it would be great if you could find out what ill-hearted legislator it was that slipped this time-bomb into the bill, so we can wish a pox on them.

I like to think it was Krinkie, but that could be force of habit.

Posted by: David Howe at January 21, 2007 10:28 PM

An article in today's Star Trib brought up the "public place" aspect.

Posted by: Erik at January 22, 2007 6:16 PM

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