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February 16, 2007

What else is there to say?

Holy crap people! I have been extremely ill for the past couple of days and unable to join in the rip-roaring discussion on the last post. Wow. I definitely learned a lot.

And although I don't agree with Stadiumshill's views on Mike Opat and the other commissioners, I must send a big thanks out to him for his educational and enlightening thoughts on the situation. I wouldn't be surprised if he was a minority investor in the Rapid Park site himself. Essentially, Stadiumshill's thoughts can be summed up in his last comment of the previous post:

HC needs to get off their arse; grow a pair and condemn this thing or it will not get done.

LPII is NOT going to offer a price and IS NOT a willing seller. It's either "eminent domain" or "find another site." (period)

Minus the vulgar language, I agree with this sentiment. It would appear that Hennepin County does indeed only have two choices at this point: condemn or find another site. Originally, HC began eminent domain proceedings last November only as a safeguard in case something didn't work out. They absolutely, though, do not want to follow through on these proceedings. HC is afraid, plain and simple, that the proceedings will find that the land should be valued at much more than they have at their disposal. My contacts are calling it "a nightmare scenario."

My contacts are also saying that we are wrong to think that condemnation favors the government. When it takes privately owned land, government is exercising an extraordinary power. It's a power so extraordinary that it's spelled out in the Constitution -- the 5th Amendment: "Private property shall not be taken for a public use, without just compensation." In Minnesota, condemnation disputes are handled by a panel of three "commissioners," as was pointed out in the comments of the previous post. There are no guarantees that the County will fare well in condemnation. It doesn't matter if Harry Crump (God bless him) presides over the condemnation case -- the commissioners will submit to the judge a price. It is unlikely that the judge would overrule that recommendation. Not to mention, if either side feels hurt badly by the decision reached by those commissioners, they can appeal to a jury, where the outcome is even more unknown.

Truth be told, if LPII does not come back to the negotiating table soon with a counter-offer and an appraisal of their own to back it up Hennepin County will find another site. That is the deal. Or is it?

This brings up another point which I have been pondering. In a recent issue of the Downtown Journal, Mike Opat is quoted as saying:

“We would prefer to negotiate [privately], which saves time and attorneys’ fees,? he said. “We were hoping for a negotiated settlement, we’ve attempted a negotiated settlement, we’ve been met with unreasonable resistance, and so we’re just in a waiting mode right now until we decide if we’re going to continue on the site.?

Opat said the county is talking to the Twins about their appetite for handling cost overruns in the land price and some infrastructure costs. The estimate of cost overruns changes from day-to-day, he said.

While we can all assume that Hennepin County is looking for a new site right now, my gut tells me they are more vigorously looking for ways to pay potential cost overruns. This is backed up by the ending statement of the recent Strib article on the debacle:

Opat said the county is discussing its options with the Twins, including asking the team to pay the price difference with the landowners.

"They have their limits, too, and they've made that clear," he said.

So, it sounds like the Twins are on board with bridging the gap. That is extremely good news. Unfortunately, though, the article makes clear that the gap may be more than the $7-$10 million we've been suggesting on these pages. As we've all read the value LPII is looking for may be $40-$50 million (Sid wrote to this effect yesterday also). Other entities are surely in play besides the Twins.

The Strib article also mentioned that the County is looking at the land around the Brookdale Mall. I must admit, I find this kind of thing fun to read about. Having read that, I can imagine that other suburbs are right now considering other parcels of land to propose to the County. We are talking about a half a billion dollar construction project that now seems to be somewhat up for grabs. I seriously wonder what Minneapolis politicians think of all of this.

Well, I've rambled on long enough. I will end with some questions that I hope to get answers to soon.

  1. The County definitely feels going through the condemnation process is a nightmare scenario. A bigger nightmare I would think is a determination that the Rapid Park site is untenable and the County/Twins have to go back to the Legislature to revise the Twins bill. What gives the County confidence that the legislature would even entertain them coming back this year? I don't know, but bringing the legislature back into the equation just makes me phenomenally jumpy. I don't like it.
  2. Why doesn't the County take its chances on the quick-take process? They get the land now and can start planning and developing the site and they push the cost issue down the road a year. That gives them more time to work over the Twins and other possible entities for financial support and maybe even the legislature for technical changes to the ballpark bill. Yes, condemnation hearings don't necessarily favor the government, but I think it's extremely doubtful that the 3 person panel or a jury will grant tens of millions more than the County's assessed market value.
  3. What does LPII expect to get for the land without a ballpark there? This is a question that is really bothering me. In the comments of the last post Stadiumshill brought up the concept of "fiduciary responsibility" which is a term used to define the responsibility of those charged with protecting the interests of minority investors. According to Shill, LPII needs the eminent domain proceedings to protect themselves from being sued by its minority investors. Another commenter, The Rational Actor, disagreed somewhat with Shill's assessment, but what I want to know is doesn't LPII think they'll get sued if a stadium isn't built on the Rapid Park site? Without a stadium, I would think the value of the land plummets (who wants a condo behind a garbage burner?). Without a stadium, the grandma investor in Houston that was expecting 30K for her investment will definitely only get $15K, probably less. In fact, I am of the opinion that without a stadium that land will remain a parking lot for the next 50 years. Does LPII really think they can develop it into something more without a stadium? Look at the problems Block E is having. I just don't get it.

It is my hope that the County is right now trying to find more money to pay for land cost overruns. Having secured this extra funding it is my hope that they go through with the condemnation proceedings. It is my belief that eminent domain proceedings will not value the land anywhere near $40-$50 million. In fact, I would be surprised with a value of anything near $30 million.

Needless to say, it should be an interesting next few weeks. And while I can hope for all of the above, I wouldn't be surprised if the County announces soon that it has dropped the Rapid Park site from consideration, and that it will be looking for a new site. If that happens, c'est la vie. I just want a ballpark.

Posted by snackeru at February 16, 2007 12:05 PM

Comments

I think that it would be better to do a quick-take, start building, and deal with the consequences later than try to go back to the legislature to get a new ballpark location.

Once the ballpark structure starts taking shape and provides a tangible presence for the public to latch on to, I think the legislature would be more inclined to allow Hennepin County (remember, they are the ones paying in the first place) to use an extra $10 million or so on land acquisition in the event that the ultimate valuation is higher than budgeted (particularly if the Twins or other entities you mentioned kicked in some of their own coin).

Going back to the legislature for a new site makes me "phenomenally jumpy" as well. I think the legislature is far less likely at this time to approve an amendment that allows the Twins and HC to look for a new site. If you recall, having a site locked down may have been one of the factors that eased the passage of the ballpark bill after so many years of struggles.

Finally, the point you make about LP II's alternative development plans is exactly what I was getting at yesterday. If there is no ballpark, what is LP II going to do? Condos are a dime a dozen downtown, but condos overlooking a new ballpark are a rare bird. I supposed condos overlooking a garbage-burner are one-of-a-kind as well, but I'm not sure that feature "smells" as nice. If the ballpark goes away, LP II is going to have some irate minority investors.

It's pretty clear we have a high-stakes game of chicken going on. LP II's cards say it's down to a higher settlement or whatever the eminent domain process yields. HC's cards say it's down to a lower settlement or they walk. The only options to get this ballpark done anytime soon is for LP II to take HC's threats to walk seriously and decide to settle at a lower amount, or HC to "grow a pair" and condemn in the face of uncertain future costs. At this point, either option looks great to me.

Posted by: The Rational Actor at February 16, 2007 1:49 PM

While I mainly just want this stadium to be built, if this thing ends up in the suburbs, I'm going to be quite upset. At the very least, I want the stadium to be near a lightrail stop. Considering it will take 10 years between the first and second light rails opening, it will be awhile before there is a line to Brooklyn Park.

Posted by: Aaron at February 16, 2007 1:52 PM

the legislature could also let the issue lag with nothing done this session, we all know they just love dealing with stadium issues over there. then we wait another year and constuction costs go up even more. that and the previous comments about being jumpy about letting the legislature get their hands on this again make me think i'd rather deal with the devil i know, ie, finding someway to deal with the potential higher land costs. if this goes back to the legislature, all bets are off.

Posted by: mullen at February 16, 2007 1:58 PM

This legislation has so many ticking timebombs, it's not even funny.

Rational is right on with his "chicken" assessment but the realities of walking from this deal would mean walking away from a stadium. Not building one elsewhere. After all the boohooing and foot stomping by Opat, he'll come to see that walking away means no stadium.

Right now he's faced with a decision; "what color bullet does he want to kill his political career with?" One that fails to deliver a stadium as promised?, or; One that contemplates revisiting the legislature, "hat in hand" for several million dollars more than what he originally bargained for?

LPII has withstood the onslaught of HC initiated public criticism, and not blinked....uh oh.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 16, 2007 2:12 PM

I would not go back to Larry Pogemiller's Legislature for any reason whatsoever. The Twins must realize this. The make-up of the Legislature has changed since the stadium was approved. Sure, Phil Krinkie is gone, but so are the Dean Johnson's of the world who worked hard to push the bill through. Even Brad Finstad, the author of the bill, is hesitant to bring this up again.

I knew this was going to happen. Only in Minnesota would a stadium get screwed up three weeks before construction is due to begin. I think I will take a drive by the Xcel Energy Center just to make sure it's really there. How that arena got built in this State is beyond me.

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 16, 2007 2:38 PM

I don't think that the garbage burner is as big a deterrent to condos as some suggest. I've mentioned before that the smell around that area isn't nearly as bad as people assume.

I also know that a condo project went in on West River Road just north of the Broadway Pizza that is also located near a scrap metal recycler and an Aggregate Industries distribution center that runs a fair amount of barge traffic along the Mississippi River. When my friends and I heard about that project, we didn't think anyone would want to live near industrial neighbors like those, but the condos sold pretty quickly.

I think the downtown Minneapolis condo glut should be a bigger concern for LP II than the garbage burner. I read the Downtown Journal periodically and I've seen at least a couple stories about developers that have changed plans for condo projects lately.

Posted by: Mark Snyder at February 16, 2007 2:38 PM

i don't personally think mike opat gives a rip about his political career. in fact, i think he won't run next because he wants to spend more time with his young family. and i don't think a stadium deal falling through will have any effect on the board. the narrative's already been set in stone that LP II are the greedy landowners holding the baseball team's future up. for good or bad, that's how it is. and no negative ranting on a blog by someone connected to the landowners is gonna change that. once you get on Sid's bad side, forget about it. oh oh is right, you gotta do business in this state and sit on your parking lot and pay the county taxes. mike opat can go home to his wife and kids and say he gave it a shot. nice try though, maybe LP II can hire a cheap pr firm.

Posted by: mullen at February 16, 2007 2:49 PM

If this stadium falls through and the Twins leave Minnesota, I will look upon the Rapid Park site with disdain the rest of my days.

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 16, 2007 2:54 PM

LPII's owned that land for 20 years. Another 10 or 20 isn't going to hurt anybody - it cash flows. And as far as "memory" is concerned? how long did it take you to forgive and forget about your "I'm gonna move/contract/sell your baseball team" owner, before putting him back on the pedestal? we'll at least be around that long.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 16, 2007 3:01 PM

Haven't forgiven Pohlad for that yet. I'm a bitter guy. I have plenty of room left for disdain for LP II, however.

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 16, 2007 3:12 PM

pretty confident aren't ya? part of me would rather see the team leave the state than do business with these people. what great cooperative minnesota spirit on display here. and funny how you havn't addressed the price figures listed in sid hartmann's column yesterday. listed on the web site at 17.5 than suddenly shot up to 40. gee, what a coincidence.

Posted by: mullen at February 16, 2007 3:14 PM

No coincidence. HC maybe could've had it for around 20M had "Oputz" been smart enough to address that issue first. He wasn't. That alone should be worth another 20M. Of course, watching him twist in the wind and subsequently get flushed down the drain is just a bonus that you can't put a price on.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 16, 2007 3:31 PM

'Shill - are you Penny Steele?

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 16, 2007 3:37 PM

hahaha, what a cut-up you are. you really have a thing for mike opat. it's almost as if you're in love with him or something. i've never seen anyone personally attacked so aggressively while not even mentioning randy johnson, mclaughlin or stenglein. hope you can give us more of that classic LP II passive aggressive humor.

Posted by: mullen at February 16, 2007 3:41 PM

In case y'all missed it, Shill just wrote "we'll [as in LP II] at least be around that long." He/she is an LPII hand/investor, that's for sure.

Welcome back, Shane. I hope you get a chance to work your magic and come up with some cold hard facts why the county is so afraid of the condemnation process. Like you say, that still looks by far to be the best way to get the ballpark built.

Posted by: spycake at February 16, 2007 4:11 PM

Shane, can you enlighten me on something? If HC goes through with condemnation and the commission comes back with a land value of, say $30 million, would the county then be obligated to complete the condemnation process and purchase the land at that price, or could they still walk away at that point?

Posted by: twayn at February 16, 2007 4:24 PM

Nice catch spycake...

Shane have you talked to Bruce lately? I remember he was really excited to get this thing done when he was at Summit last summer for the celebration. Maybe he had a few too many EPA's that day or maybe........we should have given him a few more and had him sign the paperwork right there!

Posted by: MOJO at February 16, 2007 4:34 PM

twayn, if HC goes through with the condemnation proceedings that means they will have also done the "quick take." Condemnation proceedings will take a long, long time and in order to remain on schedule HC will have already had to have taken title to the land and begun construction. In other words, yes, if the land is valued at $30 million the county will have to pay. They will have already started digging.

By the way, Stadiumshill can dislike Opat all he wants. I'm surprised it is ruffling all your feathers so much. What I am still hearing is that Opat has staked his political career on getting this stadium built and he is determined to make it happen. And when he does get it built he will be a hero ala Norm Coleman. I'm sure Shill would agree that the "proof is in the pudding" and I happen to believe Opat will get the job done. He's gotten us this far.

Rational Actor, thanks for your initial comment. I'm sorry I didn't give you more credit for the idea. You seem to know what you are talking about. Keep posting!

MOJO, I have not spoken to Bruce in a while and don't expect to. He is laying low ... really low.

Posted by: Shane at February 16, 2007 4:41 PM

Yes, Shill resembles the typical slimy republiCON attitude of a greedy land owner not acting in good faith. Why are we surprised????

Posted by: kevin in az at February 16, 2007 5:16 PM

Anyone want to go in and by 2 shares of LP II stock with me and then we could have Stick and Ball Guy represent us in a derivative suit against LPII. Legal fees could tip their hand a bit. Does anyone know if it is privately traded and if so any of the minority shareholders who might be willing to sell?

Posted by: vince at February 16, 2007 5:32 PM

Shill, you stated above that this onslaught upon LPII was "HC initiated criticism". Instead, I think you've got it just the opposite. It's LPII initiated. Companies that don't act in good faith, seem greedy, and don't follow through on something they've stated they'll willingly do seem to bring it upon themselves. HC, to a majority of people, seems to be the good guy here. They've tried to make a deal. You and your cronies just sit there and throw a tantrum because you're not getting the $$ you want. You're not getting your way and you're just sitting there pouting. You can't tell us it's anything else than having more money line your pockets, although I think in your case it's somewhat political too.

Posted by: Mylometer at February 16, 2007 7:56 PM

I think its funny that all you (with no money) attempt to infer how much money somebody else should get from an investment.

You all know "how much is too much" for somebody else, when you all would squeal like stuck pigs if somebody suggested you (and subsequently attempted to negotiate through the media) take considerably less for doing your jobs.

LPII's position has been clear from day one (which is actually January 8th, 2007 for any of you keeping score about when HC actually approached LPII to "talk turkey") Condemn and quick take or STFU and go pout. If you don't want to pay - Don't pay?!?! nobody's holding a gun to your head. Bunch of "chickenbleep" politicians with no spine. That's all.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 16, 2007 8:23 PM

Wow...this Shill guy really represents the LPII guys well. Just as you would expect, he sounds like a jerk.

The condo glut downtown is very well documented...and there is a lot of supply and not nearly as much demand...at least not at the prices the developers would like.

That land is not nearly as desirable or valuable as other areas already developed.

Posted by: mlb2131 at February 16, 2007 9:15 PM

Shill,
Don't you think your party (LPII) should have made it clear from day one what your asking price was for the land? When I say from day one I'm referring to the time period when this bill was making its way through the legislature. Sure, I agree the county was out of line for expecting you to accept the $13.35 million figure (considering the agreement a couple years earlier was for $13 million plus the parcel valued at $5 million). At this point, I'm sure the county would agree in a heartbeat to an amount in the $18-$20 million range. But now you and LPII are out for blood because the county tried to bully you into accepting the $13.35 million figure. Get over it! But you're going to show them, aren't you. You're going to show them that nobody messes with LPII. You know that the condemnation process always favors the land owners because it's the big bad government going in and forcefully taking the land. That's the way it should be. This, however, is not the case here. LPII offered it up! LPII wanted the ballpark to be built on their land! LPII even started their own corny website as part of their lobbying effort. The condemnation process is not meant to be used for situations like this! As I stated earlier, there is no question that at this point the county would be willing to settle in the $18-$20 million range. This is what the land is worth. Accept it and let's get on with it. They f#cked up big time by thinking they could bully you. They were wrong. Now get over it and realize that you and LPII are now in the wrong. Right now, it's clear that LPII is just being vengeful.

Posted by: bruce at February 16, 2007 11:30 PM

I still think 'Shill is Penny Steele.

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 17, 2007 12:08 AM

Shane, thanks for the comment. I must say that I thought I was a bit of a junkie about this whole ballpark process until I stumbled on to your site. I have found this blog to be a tremendous resource (due to your postings and the reader comments). I guess your efforts made me want to contribute in some way. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: The Rational Actor at February 17, 2007 12:55 AM

i agree, it's fun and addictive to follow the ballpark construction process. i've taken trips to other cities and came back envious of these cathedrals to the game. but it becomes even more fun when we actually start to see steel girders and concrete being poured for grandstands, the outline of the field being formed and construction cranes framing the site. i really hope that process will begin to happen this summer and we can have enjoyable debates about how the ball will carry to right field or how high the outfield fence should be. the tit for tat business side of this project is becoming a broken record.

Posted by: mullen at February 17, 2007 1:19 AM

Don't dispair, Mullen. It will all be over soon.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 17, 2007 7:08 AM

Jeff T. I think you hit the nail on the head. I happen to know several of the LP2 people. At first I thought the 'Schill was one of them, but recently the tone has become very obstructionist. It seems to be a stadium-hater at heart and that's not the LP2 guys.

Mike Opat, to paraphrase my dead father who screws with Iowa farmers by whispering to them, "Easy our pain. If you condemn it, you can build it."

Posted by: Ray Kinsella at February 17, 2007 8:40 AM

Hey Mullen - I have a proposal;

It seems I was wrong when I stated "Oputz" only has 2 options. He has a third. And IF he is as magnanimous and uninterested in solely furthering his political career as you stated, then he should consider this; Resign! and take his crony installed puppet of a stadium commissioner chairmen with him - ride off into the sunset, never to be heard from again.

If he's only interested in spending time with his "young family" then this option shouldn't be a problem for him. And I guaranty! removing his smarmy a$$ from this process will get it done!

So, what's it going to be "Oputz?" your career, or the stadium? it's your move.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 17, 2007 8:42 AM

Phil Krinkie has lots of time on his hands these days to be on this blog....isn't that right Shill?

And as far as your ridiculous comment about us "people with no money"...I'm sure I could easily go toe to toe with you. I still own much property in Minnesota and 7 other states. However, a real MAN doesn't flash his money. Maybe you should take some of your money and buy a new personality and maybe a conscience.

Ok, so maybe you're not Phil Krinkie or Bruce Lambrecht...Maybe your Donald Rumsfeld...he has lots of idle time on his hands too.

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 9:17 AM

So Kev, as a guy who could "easily go toe to toe" with me; I'm surprised you would advocate dictating to someone else how much money they can/should make. Typically "well to do" individuals don't impose their financial morales on other people. That's usually left up to the Dems, socialists and others that find it easier to drag someone else down rather than lift themselves up. Maybe you don't have as much as you think you do.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 17, 2007 9:26 AM

Jeff T-

You crack me up!!...I don't think Shill is Penny Steele. Penny hasn't been able to access her computer. She shorted out her keyboard from all her stadium tears.

I'm willing to bet he's one of the Houston slimeballs or Phil Krinkie.

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 9:29 AM

All right everyone, let's try to keep the personal attacks to a minimum. I may have to start deleting comments if they don't stay within the realm of the stadium debate.

Shill, since it is now obvious you have somewhat of a stake in all of this, would you mind elaborating on your comment that this "will all be over soon"? Do you have some information you can share or just a gut feeling?

Posted by: Shane at February 17, 2007 9:31 AM

Shill,

I'm not dictating how much money a person should or shouldn't make. When I make deals, I make money but I also have reason - which is something you've either lost, or never had...Period

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 9:42 AM

I think Shill is really a homeless man living in downtown Minneapolis, who has a man-crush on "Oputz", but alas... the feeling wasn't mutual. In a fit of rage he luckily stumbled across a discarded computer, plugged it in next to the dirty sink in the restroom he resides in and spends all day trying to ruin the life of his long lost love.

Somewhere along the way, he picks up a discarded (aren't they all) copy of one of Trumps books and now postures like he is a big-time real estate mogul.

Posted by: zooomx at February 17, 2007 9:45 AM

Shane,

You rock, but Shill has been nothing but personal attacks for the past week. Sorry.

Posted by: zooomx at February 17, 2007 9:46 AM

What proof is there that this shrill guy is an investor in LPII, he/she claimed it so we believe it? I hardly doubt any of the 100 investors would care to sit here and respond to petty remarks or would hate the stadium this much....its reality LPII and HC both want this stadium built and each understands the stakes. I think this Shrill guy just spends a lot of time unemployed at the Mpls Library.

Posted by: Franklin at February 17, 2007 9:47 AM

Sorry for digressing. I sometimes get sidetracked by people who really don't care about anything else other than, in this case, building the stadium - without regard for costs, politics, personalities, taxes, time, who it affects or anything else. Those people should just sit and "wish for stadium" because that's all they're really doing anyway.

Opat has the options in front of him (I wasn't really serious about the third option, but I belive it would help.) He will decide to proceed with condemnation and take his chances on cost overuns, with the Twins and the Lesgislature having to pony up, after the fact.

Just a prediction, because I only have casual information beyond the LPII issue; but there are several more looming issues that could further compound the timing of the stadium. I predict that it still will not be open until 2011. 2010 is too aggressive. So be prepared.

Zoomx - you're gay. Kev - you're a "pretender." Both you guy's, hope you enjoy your view from the "cheap seats." I'll be watching via satellite.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 17, 2007 9:51 AM

Shill says

Sorry for digressing. I sometimes get sidetracked by people who really don't care about anything else other than, in this case, building the stadium - without regard for costs, politics, personalities, taxes, time, who it affects or anything else.

Shill, this is something that all of us have been doing for years on this blog until you showed up. Go away so we can go back to having productive discussions...PLEASE!

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 9:53 AM

I'd gladly sit in the cheap seats with zoomx and the rest of the greet machiners for that matter. I can picture all of us topless with paint on our chests giving a salute to you Shill. All of us except for Shane of course...his pale norwegian skin would damage the camera lens..lol...sorry shane, but you could come down here and work on that tan..will be close to 80 today :-)

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 10:15 AM

it's a blog about building stadiums, stadiumshill. yea, gee, most of us are really being kept up at night with worry that a group of late middle aged men get every dollar they think they're entitled to. we've spent the past decade "caring" about costs, politics, personalities, taxes and time. give it a rest with the crocodile tears. you represent your agruments well by being so condescending.

Posted by: mullen at February 17, 2007 10:26 AM

I forgot to mention, the announcement that HC has condemned the land and is proceeding on the LPII site, will happen within the next 3 weeks.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 17, 2007 10:34 AM

Shill....What is the address for that site?

Posted by: MOJO at February 17, 2007 10:57 AM

oh, thanks for the info, duly noted. i hope you're right!

Posted by: mullen at February 17, 2007 11:00 AM

The same thing was printed in this morning's startribune.com

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 11:08 AM

the star tribune story said nothing about a possible decision to proceed with condemnation being made public within three weeks.

Posted by: mullen at February 17, 2007 11:17 AM

No, it didn't. I'm saying that announcement will be made shortly.

And remember what I said about 2011 also. Which is a "good thing." 1/2 the contributors to this site should be able to drive themselves to the stadium by then.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 17, 2007 11:41 AM

mullen and shill...i was eluding to the possible year delay in opening....anyone can throw out an educated prediction based on reports we've heard.

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 11:44 AM

The article this morning had only to with selecting another site. Moron - Kasuba didn't say anything regarding a delay associated with the Rapid Park site.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 17, 2007 11:47 AM

ummm, ok, i was thanking you for the information. and it's kaszuba.

Posted by: mullen at February 17, 2007 12:07 PM

Snill-

You stated above, "Just a prediction, because I only have casual information beyond the LPII issue; but there are several more looming issues that could further compound the timing of the stadium. I predict that it still will not be open until 2011. 2010 is too aggressive. So be prepared"

Wow, that's earth-shattering, breaking news.
It's only been widely repoted by the Strib and other media outlets that if ground isn't broken on ANY site by August, it will not be ready for 2010...Tell us something we don't already know, MORON!!!!

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 12:09 PM

Shill, you have made some good points and obviously have some sort of tie to the situation. In the interest of disclosure it would be nice to know what tie that is. Afterall, we may be reading the same information in Charley Walters column tomorrow attributed to a 'little birdie.'

In any case, you can't come on a site clearly designed for those in favor of this ballpark and be surprised that we don't agree with you.

The polical side of this debate has been interesting and educational. I know more about eminant domain law that I ever wanted to. But it has also been 10 years and I am sick of it. As someone else pointed out, I'd much rather be debating what the height of walls in the outfield should be. Or whether we truly need a lutefisk concessions stand.

Posted by: David Howe at February 17, 2007 2:30 PM

Removed

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 17, 2007 2:36 PM

Removed

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 2:52 PM

Removed

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 17, 2007 3:15 PM

Shill - I hope you are correct when you say that Hennepin County will move to condemn the land. This is the only land in which a Twins stadium can be built. As I've stated before, any change in site requires a return trip to Larry Pogemiller's Legislature. I've got to think the Twins want to avoid this at all cost even though HC Commissioner Randy Johnson has stated on Syd's show that "it wouldn't be a problem." The Legislature is ALWAYS a problem for the Twins. Also, to beat a dead horse, The Twins must know that delaying the project will cost much more in the long run than throwing LP II a few more bones after condemnation.

Condemn the land, break ground, and get going. This is the only way a stadium gets built.

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 17, 2007 3:46 PM

Nothing of importance or substance has been written here for a while. Only name calling and childish behavior.

Shill, many of these readers (Kevin included) have done a great deal for the cause of this stadium. Reading this blog for three days hardly enables you to judge them or their efforts. I appreciate your comments with regard to the stadium situation, but these personal attacks have got to stop.

Everyone else, Shill certainly has a beef with Opat and the other commissioners, but his comments (when on topic) are pretty insightful. Please lay off your personal attacks on him. He has a right to think what he wants.

In addition, I have had some correspondence with my own illustrious contacts who are telling me that HC proceeding with the condemnation is news to them. I'm not saying it won't happen, in fact I would be thrilled if it happened, but we are still in the dark.

Carry on.

Posted by: Shane at February 17, 2007 3:53 PM

Sorry Jeff T. I must have been writing my comment out as you were writing yours. Your comment definitely has substance and is not childish. Just wanted to clarify.

Posted by: Shane at February 17, 2007 3:56 PM

Shane, keep up the good work. Let's look on this stuff on the bright side. Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow. Is that not good news?

Instead of discussing the land situation let's talk about things you think will show up in the new place. My personal hope is a scoreboard that includes the Twins minor league games that night. What's everyone else want or think will show up?

Posted by: Mylometer at February 17, 2007 4:08 PM

You've got that right Mylometer....It will be great when our hot stove topics focus more on long-term signings and the great job TR did in signing all arbitration-eligible players this offseason.

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 4:58 PM

I'd like idea of flashing the farm team scores once or twice during the game, maybe between innings after they're done showing shameless ads...But hopefully they won't lose any of the basic things that really NEED to be on the scoreboard.

I know this may seem minute, but you wouldn't believe how many of the new parks I've been to that don't have a pitch speed meter. The first year Miller Park was in operation they didn't have it. When I wrote to the Brewers I stated that even the pitiful Metrodome has one...
I couldn't believe it...

I remember at the Met they would sometimes type up farm team scores on the twins-o-gram.

I know many on here aren't nostaligic like I am, but I would kill for the old Longines clock on top of the board again. Remember the old money tree??? That would be fun again, however, I think that tree fell with Hal Greenwood.

Posted by: kevin in az at February 17, 2007 5:18 PM

Shill's comment that they will announce the condemnation proceeding within three weeks gave me some hope. However, since I don't know what his source is, and Shane's sources say otherwise, it doesn't seem likely this will happen. Sid's Sunday column doesn't sound optimistic either. It is my opinion that if they don't proceed with the condemnation, there will no new stadium in Minnesota.

Regardless of how greedy or hypoctrical they may be, it certainly appears that LPII is no longer a 'willing seller' of the land they pimped as the stadium site for so long. While I am angry at them for being two-faced and greedy, to me they are a faceless group of rich people and it is a free country and they are free to do with thier land as they wish. If they have suddenly decided that using the land as a parking lot next to a garbage burner is a better investment then a baseball stadium, more power to them. That's one reason we have eminent domain laws in the first place. Hating them doesn't accomplish anything. As far as I can see, what they do or not don't want has become irrelevant to this discussion. They're simply not going to cooperate. It's condemnation or nothing.

Some have said that this will make-or-break the political careers of Mike Opat and some of the others on the HC commission. I don't this is true or not, but it's certainly not that hard for me to see them throwing up thier hands, saying 'well we tried' and walking away. Or maybe they are simply naive enough to think that going back to the Legislature to switch sites will be 'no problem.'

That leaves the Twins. They are the party in this deal with most to lose by far. In a best case scenario if the stadium is not built on this site, they will face a one-year delay in getting thier stadium, be asked to pay the entire difference between the revised cost of the stadium and $522 million, and they probably won't have the ballpark downtown where they've said they want it for years. That is if they get a stadium at all. So what is all of that going to cost them? It's impossible to say, but I'd bet my life it's a hell of a lot more then $37 million dollars. $37 million seems to be the absolute maximium amount of the current impass.

Therefore, if the Twins have not gone to HC and promised to pay the difference between the condemnation judgement and the $13.35 million that HC already offered, then they are being very, very foolish. If they have, and HC is still too skiddish to do it, then the fault lies with HC.

I can only hope that the Twins have already made this offer, and HC is just waiting a bit before making thier move. But I don't feel optimistic about it.

If this goes back to the legislature, I predict nothing but problems. I for one cannot write one more email to my legislators asking them to support this. I already did that many, many times. I've done my part. I have to think they feel the same way about voting on it. We already voted on this issue many, many times. Finally we passed it. We've done our part. How dare you come back here and ask us to do this one more time? I don't think it will even be close to passing. But maybe I am wrong.

Therefore, if any of you do have it in you to send a couple more emails, let them me to the HC commisioners, that they have some courage in all of this, and to the Twins that they realize what is about to happen and act accordingly. I have to think that if you'd told the Pohlad one year ago, that if they increase thier contribution from $130 to $167 million, not only will the stadium pass, but we'll start digging by August, they'd have done it in a hearbeat. I hope they will have enough sense to do it now.

Posted by: David Howe at February 17, 2007 11:22 PM

sid is just complaining, as he always does, about the city of minneapolis being clueless regarding any leadership on these issues. and he has a point. they have the cap on spending, but it's almost as if they could give a rat's ass that the twins and vikings want to play in their downtown. and getting any money out of the twins has always been like squeezing the last drops of water out of a sponge. we'll see. they have to choose between getting the land now at a higher price or the probable much higher materials cost of delaying. moving to another site is a folly.

Posted by: mullen at February 17, 2007 11:50 PM

I'm living out of state right now, so I don't know the legal requirements, but I have a question. If the LPII folks seem to value their property so highly, why not change their property taxes to reflect the value THEY place on their property? If they want to be reasonable, change them back. If not, at least the county/state will be getting something for their trouble.

Posted by: dlrooky at February 18, 2007 12:20 AM

That would seem justified, but I don't think the county could really get away with that. Remember the assessed value for tax purposes is only $8 million I believe. P

Plus, LPII hasn't actually said what they think it's worth. Appearantly it's a 'secret'. Shill even went so far as to suggest that HC negotiate the price by continally increasing thier offer $1 million at a time until LPII says 'OK that's high enough' and accepts. But LPII would make no counter-offer or explain what they think the value is.

If that really is LPII's attitude, wow, that is arrogent. Imagine if you or I tried to sell our house that way. Hi, I'm glad you're interested in my house. Feel free to make an offer on it. There's no asking price. If I don't respond to you offer, it's because it's not high enough. Feel free to raise your offer continually. When offer gets high enough for me to accept, I'll tell you OK? Great.

Posted by: David Howe at February 18, 2007 12:52 AM

Seriously... this is starting to get really ridiculous.

1) These people have in fact "pimped" their site for a stadium for years. I'm sure it's been mentioned, but they still have a website and STILL ARE SELLING T-SHIRTS on said website. Honestly, as a resident of the North Loop, the site is a piece of crap. If there isn't a stadium there, it will continue to be the cheapest place to park downtown. It is absolutely worthless. It amazes me that the greedy sons of bitche* think that they are so clever to decide it's worth so much more money when they KNOW that the site they pimped is where they want to build. Frankly, I think LPII is a bunch of drones/whores being told what to do. Yeah Carl has a lot of money, but at least he's trying to help Minneapolis. Hines should appolize, realize all of their Minneapolis projects suck and just go away!

P.S. You can give these awesome landowners feedback at their website http://www.mntwinsville.com/topics/feedback/index.html

THat's really smart. Start a website promoting a great site for a baseball stadium and then decide your worthless sea of concrete is worth $40 million. Is this for real?

Posted by: chi-town2 at February 18, 2007 3:16 AM

this guy had it right in yesterday's st'rib:

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat expects Land Partners II to accept less money for their land than they were offered three years ago. Because of this, he blames them for a possible delay in building the Twins stadium.

The Twins organization, which stands to make millions off the new stadium, refuses to increase its contribution of $100 million to cover increased land cost. Opat does not blame it for a possible delay.

That doesn't make sense.

PATRICK FOLEY, NORTHFIELD, MINN.

i don't blame the county for offering less than lp2 was offered 3 years ago. real estate market hasnt been great over the last 3 years........my house is the 1st example i think of.

but the twins stand to gain by far the most if the stadium is built........and lose the most if it fails.

what i see here are two greedy private companies, verses a governmental body trying to hold the line. lp2 has been unreasonable all along. just look at the shrill's comments. negotiating with them is pointless.

as is going back to the legislature. the solution is: to condemn and the twins should agree to pay the condemnation judgement minus the county's $13.5 offer. period. let's play ball.

Posted by: Vince at February 18, 2007 12:27 PM

To David H and all of the other Greeters.
It is not about LPII's unwillingness to counteroffer the county's proposal. It is about these issues:

1] Both the county and the landowners land values will come out in court. This will be public knowledge.
2] If the county is so sure that their offer is fair, then why are they not proceeding with the condemnation process and start building the stadium? I think the county's worst nightmare is that the condemnation process proceeds and the court awards the landowners the fair market value of the land which will be more than they have offered and have budgeted. You have to wonder why the county is not moving forward if they think they are in the right. Nothing is stopping them. Could it be they are not confident with their number and are trying to deflect the attention.

Contact your county officials and ask them why they have gotten this far along including spending our money without an agreement in place for the land. Let the double-talk begin.

Posted by: Jimmy Jack at February 18, 2007 1:07 PM

Let's not forget the ethically challenged Commissioner Mark Stenglein's close political relationship with Bruce Lambrecht:

http://lloydletta.blogspot.com/2005/09/hennepin-county-commissioner-mark.html
Strib:
Stenglein told an overflow crowd that he was "proud to support" the proposal, and that "big thinkers did big projects." What he did not tell them, although he had discussed it privately with his County Board colleagues before the 4-3 vote, was that he has a close personal and political connection to Bruce Lambrecht, a central figure in the limited partnership that owns the proposed stadium property.

EY:
This shows a serious lack in Mark Stenglein's ethical compass. He should recuse himself from future votes on this issue.

Strib:
When Stenglein ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Minneapolis in 2001, Lambrecht was an influential member of his campaign - holding a fundraiser for Stenglein at Lambrecht's home and leasing office space to the Stenglein campaign. Lambrecht, according to Hennepin County Commissioner Penny Steele, an opponent of the stadium plan, helped recruit Stenglein to run for mayor and was "probably one of his best friends." Stenglein's campaign manager during that race, Brian McClung, later worked as a lobbyist for Twinsville Inc., a company used by Lambrecht to help promote the stadium and a redevelopment plan for the surrounding area. McClung now serves as Gov. Tim Pawlenty's spokesman.

EY: Mark Stenglein is a total embarrassment to his district.

Posted by: Eva Young at February 18, 2007 7:56 PM

Check out the Tribune business section. The article about the chain Wild Wings mentions that no one has even contacted Brookdale about putting the stadium there and that the tax base in Brookdale is higher than current site. Who are the ones blowing smoke now? Ask for the facts because it's our money they are spending.

Posted by: Jimmy Jack at February 18, 2007 8:02 PM

Eva - I don't get your point. If Commissioner Stenglein has such a close relationship with Bruch Lambrecht, why is Hennepin County having such a hard time buying his land? If you've read the comments on this site, it appears Hennepin County is going to have to condemn Lambrect's land for this stadium to be built. No condemnation, no stadium. There is no sweetheart deal here.

In fact, it sounds like Lambrecht and his buddy Rich Pogin are being total jack-asses in this deal. All that I can gather from your comments is that you don't like Mark Stenglein.

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 18, 2007 9:03 PM

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