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March 7, 2007

Please end this

The Strib reports:

Although no deal appears imminent, county officials were optimistic enough about the progress being made that they suggested that a land deal and other critical stadium agreements could come before the County Board as early as March 27.

Whatever it takes, please let's get this done.

Posted by snackeru at March 7, 2007 10:25 PM


so they'd be able to build on two sides of the park. they'd be able to sell condos with premium views of the field. i'm glad to hear people are working towards a resolution behind the scenes and all the rhetoric.

Posted by: mullen at March 7, 2007 10:51 PM

Hopefully this deal gets worked out. I like the idea of condos going on top of the garage since that area of town already has enough garages. Now, I'm not saying that I trust LPII to build attractive condo buildings there, but I guess that ugly condos on top of a parking garage are better than just an ugly parking garage. At least the condos will begin to bring more life into the area. Now they just need to get this worked out once and for all...

Posted by: Tommy at March 7, 2007 11:16 PM

the ballfield will be a great selling point for any residential in that area. depending on how tall they build, i think a tower with windows and decks overlooking the ballpark would practically sell themselves. the dt. mpls condo market has never had an amenity like this to market. LP II/Hines could get very creative and make a lot of money on this deal.

Posted by: mullen at March 7, 2007 11:25 PM

The Pioneer Press has an interesting article about the stadium as well. Doesn't mention the garage/condo, but has interesting data about the potential land value. Appearantly, Pogin gave testimony in a court case where he said $10 million was a fair value for whole piece of land, only 75% of which is the current stadium site. Interesting.

Posted by: David Howe at March 8, 2007 3:43 AM

No way the Twins are going to allow anyone to have a "free" view of a ballgame.

Posted by: BMac at March 8, 2007 4:32 AM

Sorry Howe, but that "tidbit" is less interesting than Opat (although I thought his comments in that article indicated HE had a personal problem with LP2). $10 million in 2001, after appreciation and rezoning is definitely $25 million today. And That's without even considering lost revenue and developed value.

Posted by: Kaz at March 8, 2007 6:58 AM

Now we are down to real estate gimmicks to get the deal done?

The fact is that when a real estate deal gets to the point of gimmicks; there is no deal; it is just people knowing they are in trouble talking.

Who is to blame for this fiasco? Anybody that was calling, emailing, and writing letters to elected officials pushing them to ram through a stadium bill before anybody had a chance to question the logic, the assumptions, or the fallacies in it.

This is analogous to kids demanding a high priced new toy from their parents and kicking and screaming until they get it then they discover it is not what they thought it was.

Posted by: marilyn at March 8, 2007 7:35 AM

Kaz, I just said it was interesting not that it proved anything. However, to my understanding the $10 million reference was for the whole amount of land LPII owned, of which the stadium site is only 75%. Therefore, you can argue that they agreed that $7.5 million was a fair price in 2001. If so, even given a 10% rate of increase for appreciation, etc. that would make the land worth $13.3 million today. Maybe 10% is not an adequate rate, but it certainly proves the land isn't worth $40 million.

Posted by: David Howe at March 8, 2007 7:38 AM

how is this a gimmick? the air rights is something the twins had coveted at one point.

Posted by: mullen at March 8, 2007 8:21 AM

I am trying not to get too optimistic, but perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. I am coming down for a game in June, and would love to be able to see construction on the site.

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at March 8, 2007 8:31 AM

10% appreciation is way light. But whatever. I don't think LP2 was holding out for $40 million, that was always "just a rumor." They publicly said they'd settle for the same deal that was on the table in '04 and this is pretty close. It'll be interesting to see what "value" smilin' Carl puts on the air rights? or HC? or whoever had/has them in the current deal; now has to consider giving 'em up, for nothin?.

Posted by: Kaz at March 8, 2007 9:44 AM

From the Strib article;

"County Commissioner Mike Opat, the lead stadium negotiator for the County Board, agreed that the ramp is part of the land sale negotiations but also declined to comment. He said, however, that new data have validated the county's initial $13.35 million appraisal of the site. "We feel very good about our number," he said."


Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 9:51 AM

I'm busy piecing together details of all of this. I'll try to have something new up soon.

Posted by: Shane at March 8, 2007 10:47 AM


You da man!

Let's hope it's good news.

Posted by: Erik at March 8, 2007 11:14 AM

I agree with Casual Fan. If they are confident in the number, what's the hold-up here? Maybe they have something else in the works that will reduce the apparent hostility between the groups.

Posted by: Aaron at March 8, 2007 1:04 PM

Um, you understand that "We feel good about our number" is a negotiating position, right? LP2 definitely does NOT feel good about the County's number.

Posted by: Dave T at March 8, 2007 1:24 PM

I completely disagree with Casual Fan. As someone who as been through the court system to value investments on multiple occasions, it is the last place either party wants to end up. Opat deserves a medal for showing the cajones to see the process through. He is going to save HC taxpayers' millions of dollars by keeping it out of the court systems.

Also, in my opinion, there are two other hold-ups. The first is the potential of significant cost overruns due to the complexity of the stadium design. (I had a conversation with an architect familiar with the stadium plans. He stated it is going to be the most complex building ever built in the state.) The second was if LP/Hines can build condos that look into the Stadium. Both these issue need to be resolved before construction starts.

Posted by: BP Twin at March 8, 2007 1:55 PM

BP - sorry, but you are being ridiculous.

If Oputz had the "cajones" that you credit him with, he wouldn't have started condemnation in the first place. "Don't start something you can't/won't finish" If it WAS a bluff, it was poorly played and makes Oputz look like a, well...."putz" for starting down that road in the first place.

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 2:21 PM

The resolution that authorized the condemnation is written as such. From Sept. 18, 2006:

WHEREAS, County staff have begun negotiations to purchase necessary property rights or interests and such negotiations are ongoing; and

WHEREAS, negotiating purchase agreements is the initial preferred method of acquisition ; and

WHEREAS, it may be necessary, if the negotiations do not result in agreements, for the County to acquire necessary property rights or interests through the condemnation authority granted in the Authorizing Legislation ; and

WHEREAS, the Authorizing Legislation finds and declares that property acquired by the County for the construction of the ballpark and related public infrastructure is acquired for a public use or public purpose under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 117 relating to eminent domain authority; therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, that the County Board directs staff to continue seeking negotiated agreements as the initial preferred method of acquiring necessary property rights and interests ; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that consistent with the Authorizing Legislation, the County Board also authorizes the County Administrator to initiate eminent domain proceedings, including but not limited to proceedings pursuant to Minn. Stat. section 117.042, necessary to timely acquire any property rights or interests needed for the ballpark and related public infrastructure, and to take such other actions and initiate such other proceedings as may be advisable in furtherance of the County's authority under the Authorizing Legislation;

Setting the condemnation process in motion was envisioned by the Ballpark Legislation. To quote the Authorizing Legislation (MN Laws 2006, Chapter 257, Section 12):

Subd. 4. Property acquisition and disposition. The county may acquire by purchase, eminent domain, or gift, land, air rights, and other property interests within the development area for the ballpark site and public infrastructure and convey it to the authority with or without consideration, prepare a site for development as a ballpark, and acquire and construct any related public infrastructure.

In sum, condemnation was necessary to keep the Ballpark schedule on track. It was not a ploy, but put in motion only to protect the County and the County's residents. To have launched a condemnation action only after negotiations broke down would have been irresponsible and would have done massive harm to the Ballpark schedule.

Posted by: Shane at March 8, 2007 2:29 PM

Ahhhh, how so? It seems that the initiating of eminent domain when they (HC) did, did nothing to help the ball park schedule or "keep it on track." And if it was only put in motion to protect the County and us residents, how does it accomplish that goal without being followed through on?

Every thing I read in your nice "cut and paste" is "may be necessary." Somebody had to decide that it WAS, when they (HC) chose to do it. I believe that was Oputz. And if it truly does "protect us" then FINISH THE DAM JOB!

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 2:41 PM

By the way, OT. Did anybody else scratch their head after reading the Reusse column today? I mean, if Hrbek had started a "white side" of the locker room like Kirby had started a "black end" would it have gone as unnoticed? I just thought we were past segregated locker rooms.

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 2:49 PM

here's a cut and paste for 'ya casual fan.

pi-press today:
"Hines Interests Limited of Houston, the managing partner in the deal handling negotiations for the owners, met with the team, which made a proposal to Hennepin County, according to Rich Pogin of Land Partners II, who represents the owners. The county is considering the offer."

"Hines told me they're hopeful something will come together," Pogin said. He wouldn't discuss the proposal.

break the prozacs in half tomorrow, btw.

Posted by: mullen at March 8, 2007 3:11 PM

Gotcha - I'll dial back on the prozacs. In the mean time; what the frick are you pointing out here? that you can "cut and paste?" because this article, besides being read by everybody already, doesn't say anything new.

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 3:18 PM

yea it does say many many new things. we know a helluva lot more today than we knew yesterday. if you're against the ballpark just come out and say it, don't hide behind some false bravado that the deal isn't getting done quick enough.

Posted by: mullen at March 8, 2007 3:29 PM

Riiiight. You "know" alot more today by reading that article? You "know" that "Representatives of the Land owners met with the team (presumeably the Twins), which forwarded a proposal to the County that is currently being considered."

Um, by just reviewing the time line of posts on this blog, you could've found that out yesterday. So, no. It's not new.

And in the "wrong again" category. I'm not against the stadium. I AM against "fiddle effing" around condemnation though, and not having the "cajones" to finish what you started.

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 3:37 PM


please explain to the great readers of the best blog on the net why Opat should go the commendation route when there is still a growing chance of a negotiated land deal?

Posted by: BP Twin at March 8, 2007 4:05 PM


1.) Any "hope" that you have stems purely from speculation. If you read between the lines of all that's been said/printed over the past couple of days, its nothing. The fact that both sides are talking is nothing more than what they should've been doing months ago. There are no specifics. AND - it's Hines and the Twins talking to the County. I haven't seen one thing that indicates that what Hines/LP2 has proposed, through the Twins, is even remotely interesting to the County. In other words; HC doesn't seem interested in either throwing in the air rights on the deal, or otherwise raising their offer, so;

2.) stop wasting eveybody's time and energy and condemn. There's plenty more to work on besides this issue.

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 4:18 PM

Negative “CF? Ned-I disagree. Here on the sunny side of Greet Machine Land, I take solace in the words of Hennepin County Ballpark Project Coordinator Rick Johnson in this week’s Downtown Journal. He told the City Council he’s hopeful an agreement will be reached within the next 30 days between the county and the owners of the stadium site.

“Just because you haven’t heard anything doesn’t mean a lot hasn’t happened this week,? Johnson said.

Give hope a chance CF.

Posted by: BP Twin at March 8, 2007 4:29 PM

While I agree somewhat (without the vitriol) with CF that HC should just condemn if they are comfortable with their numbers, the fact that this is Hines talking and not LP2 is a good thing. They way I understand it is that Hines is charged with land purchase negotiations and Rich P through LP2 is charged with condemnation. The fact that Hines IS involved could mean a deal (sans condemnation)is being hammered out.

One a slightly different note, there is an article in the Mpls/STP Business Journal (don't worry CF I won't cut and paste) that the market for "premium" condo's has tanked. A couple of large projects near the warehouse district (with approvals)are on hold, others that were in the drawing board stage are back in the closet, and the ones being developed are experiencing slow, slow sales. The good news is that the more market rate or affordable condos are selling pretty good. I hope Hines reads the market correctly and proposes moderate priced condos around the ballpark. The kids will be gone and out of the house in about 10-12 years and I'd love to try to talk the wife into moving into a condo near the ballpark.

Posted by: DEC at March 8, 2007 4:34 PM

Hope in one hand and sh*t in the other, see which one gets filled first.

Add Rick Johnson to the loooong list of people "hoping" this gets done. He doesn't have a thing to do with it, at this stage.

Here in the real world; our sky is blue and the County is wasting time. If this isn't hurting the ballpark schedule, then why was it brought up? (by the County, I might add). If this isn't and won't be pinching the schedule for another month? why the heck are we even talking about it now? Ask Oputz!

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 4:39 PM


I don't get what you are getting at. The eminent domain process IS proceeding. There are hearings scheduled. The only that hasn't happened is the county has decided not to use the "quick take" provisions of eminent domain.

Posted by: pragmatic_cynic at March 8, 2007 5:02 PM


My understanding of the Eminent Domain process is that nothing proceeds until HC deposits the appraised value with the court. After that, then LP2 has some specified period of time to support their value. What purpose would these hearings you supposedly know about, serve?

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 5:06 PM


That's if the county proceeds with the 'quick take,' where it takes title to the land first, and then a price is determined in court, which the county is obliged to pay. Under that scenario, they deposit their estimate of the property's worth into an escrow account.

The more traditional mode of ED involves determining the price to be paid and then taking title to the land. This gives the county a chance to bail out if they don't like the direction of the proceedings (i.e. what price the court comes to), but it also means that they won't take title until much later in the process.

Hearings would be involved with the regular ED process. That's what they're continuing to do now.

Posted by: Alex at March 8, 2007 5:27 PM

I don't live in Minnesota, and don't know enough about Mike Opat to be either for or against him, but could people please stop referring to him as "Oputz"? Name calling does not advance an argument, and any cleverness in this name ceased to exist a long time ago.

Posted by: Jeff A at March 8, 2007 5:40 PM

I totally agree Jeff. I wrote the same thing a few blogs back. I can't take anyone seriously when they resort to name calling.

Posted by: JBN at March 8, 2007 5:43 PM

the county wants to know how much they'll be paying now. what about that don't u understand? it's called a budget, casual fan. you're a stadium hater under the guise of being impatient for construction to start. the act's become tiresome, dude.

Posted by: mullen at March 8, 2007 6:01 PM

mullen - you're a fraud. The coexistence of "hater" and "being impatient for construction to start" can only exist in your world. Stay there.

The time to be concerned about a budget busting land price was months ago! time to move on and "pay the piper."

Eminent Domain does not provide a way for the "County to bail" if they don't like the price. That would be wrong and disadvantage the land owner by preventing them from pursuing and experiencing "highest and best value" for their land while this process plays out. I don't believe that path is real unless you provide proof otherwise. A link?, a quote? Anything?

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 6:09 PM

CF, you seem so extremely intelligent and very knowledable about all aspects of this process. I can only assume that you yourself will be running for political office so that you can better benefit society, that is if you don't already hold an office. Can you please tell us who you are so that we may support your campaign?

Posted by: David H at March 8, 2007 6:20 PM

--Eminent Domain does not provide a way for the "County to bail" if they don't like the price. That would be wrong and disadvantage the land owner by preventing them from pursuing and experiencing "highest and best value" for their land while this process plays out. I don't believe that path is real unless you provide proof otherwise. A link?, a quote? Anything?--

CF, check the site linked to my name.

URL here, if you want to cut and paste:

There are two different sets of proceedings: The quick take and the regular take.

Under the quick take, the county deposits what they think the land is worth, and they take title to the land, thus work can begin. The final price is agreed upon after the fact by the court, and the county either pays the difference, or gets some money back, depending on the outcome. The advantage is that they take title to the land right away, the disadvantage is that they are bound to whatever price the Court determines.

Under the regular take, the county does not take title to the land until all of the court proceedings are finished. That gives them an opportunity to bail out on the process if they don't like the way they think a Court will rule. This method goes through numerous hearings, which the County is doing. They've already gone through the notice requirements and determined that the stadium does in fact constitute a public use.

In short: If the county uses the quick take, there is no turning back. If their infrastructure and land costs then exceed 90 million, they've just violated the law. If the county uses the slow take, they gain more time to continue to negotiate while retaining a legitimate threat that they can acquire the land via ED. However, they can back out of that at any time, unlike the quick take.

Posted by: Alex at March 8, 2007 6:47 PM

i'm a fraud, hehe, ok then. just a twins fan bud, but i guess that constitutes a fraud in "your world".

Posted by: mullen at March 8, 2007 8:17 PM

David - Public service doesn't pay well enough, so I won't be running anytime soon.

Alex - Kudos for finding a link on ED. However, the course your referring to can and usually does take years if followed through to its ultimate conclusion. I was wondering if there was a process you were referencing that provided ownership transfer to the County, without using "quick take" and still in a time frame that could reasonably produce a stadium by 2010. The answer is no. Even though you may believe that HC is pursuing ED outside of "quick take." I can assure you that this is not happening with any real possibility. If this issue isn't resolved in a time frame that contemplates completion by 2010, it will require a revisit to the legislature. The benefit of pursuing quick take now and incurring any additional costs, now, is that eventhough tough to do, the legislature wouldn't turn its back on a partially finished stadium requiring additional monies to be finished. They'd rather kill it upfront. Which is why its important to be on track and started by now.

mullen - You're right. You're "just a fan" Remember that.

Posted by: Casual Fan at March 8, 2007 9:29 PM

There is a very simple solution to all this:

The Twins players each take a 10% wage cut.

The Twins layoff administration and cut the wages of the remaining employees by 10%.

Ticket fees are raised $3.50 per seat.

This would raise more than enough money for Carl Pohlad to fund the entire stadium over 20 years counting his initial $130 million contribution.

Other businesses are forced to make these hard decisions every day in America; why can't Carl?

Posted by: charles at March 9, 2007 7:26 AM

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