13 April 2007

Twins Show and Tell

After the Twins agreed to bridge the gap on the land price dispute for their downtown ballpark, they unveiled renderings of the 40,000-seat, open air stadium. The design is very much signature HOK, but unlike some of their more sprawling projects, they and local firm HGA were constrained by an 8-acre site. Somehow they managed to squeeze a million square feet into the plan, which from the planning standpoint is a marvel.

The exterior would look more original if the sketch didn't strongly evoke PETCO Park. Instead of PETCO's sandstone, the as yet unnamed/unsponsored Minneapolis ballpark will be clad in limestone.

This cross-section shows a good cantilever in the club level and a decent one in the terrace level. Notice how the loading area (yellow) is underneath the sidewalk adjacent to the ballpark.

This cross-section is of the left field seats. It's a two-level structure with an upper deck that lines up with the lower deck. There are also a couple of interesting quirks. The area between the "exterior" wall and the light rail station is so narrow that the ballpark's circulation ramp actually hangs over the sidewalk. They even managed to fit additional back-of-the-house facilities underneath the train station.

Here's the real kicker. You might not recognize it immediately, but there are three - count 'em - three parking garages on top of a major road. That's no ordinary street - it's Interstate 394, a spur that runs from the suburbs to downtown Minneapolis. If they are really planning to do this, they better save their pennies for the parking infrastructure. It will not be cheap.

Correction: The parking garages are already in place thanks to work completed as part of earlier projects. According to this link, Ramp A cost $64 million.


david said...

I'm guessing they are going without a retractable roof, thats a little scary, especially from what we saw in Cleavland this year.

Anonymous said...

the parking structures already exist, they are there for downtown business and the target center.

popomo said...

If you're talking about Ramps A, B, and C, they're not proposed, they're already there.

Marine Layer said...

Thanks for the correction. Just out of curiosity, anyone know how much those garages cost to build?

Anonymous said...

Another downtown ballpark. It seems just about every city gets to have a downtown ballpark, except of course, for Oakland. The Oakland A's should build the ballpark in Downtown Oakland.

Zonis said...

A stadium in Minnesota w/o a roof?


Georob said...

What so many people forget is that ballpark locations are a function of where you can get cheap real estate.

In the 60's and 70's, ballparks went to the outlying areas because that's where cheaper land was. Since then, the old industrial based downtowns have declined and that's where cheaper land has been found.

An exception is the Bay Area, where there is such a shortage of affordable housing in the urban areas that parcels of land in Oakland and elsewhere that would have been thought of unsuitable a few years are now being snapped up for high density luxury condos.

You think ATT Park could have been built today where it is? The Giants were lucky to get that site on the cusp of the dot com boom. Even now, San Francisco has to wonder if a stadium for the Niners is the "highest and best use", even in Hunters Point.

Oakland's one last hope of keeping the A's in city limits is a slowdown in the housing market that in turn causes brownfields to remain status quo. But that's a tall order.

But I'm tired of everyone talking about ballparks going downtown because "that's where they ought to be." BULL! Ballparks go where they make the most economic sense, be they downtown, suburbs or anywhere in between.

Anonymous said...

Correction to Mr. Georob's fine post. In the 1960's and 70's ballparks (transformed into multi-use stadiums) fled downtowns for the suburbs because that's where everyone else was going...the now infamous suburban flight of the middle and upper class, where homes with a backyard, shopping malls, and freeways reigned! Downtowns became ghost towns, with empty store fronts, decay, and red light districts. From the 1990's to the present, what we have witnessed in our country is an urban renaissance, where large numbers of single professionals and empty nesters are returning from the suburbs to the downtowns. Think hip urban living...high-rise condos, loft living, high-end retail, bars, restaurants, AND YES, sports venues!! Be they arena's or ballparks, downtown is now where the action and money is, and that's where they ought to be! Land in the downtowns, especially San Jose, cost a lot more than the suburbs (1.5 acres for nearly $30 million!). Trust me, if Lew Wolff could build downtown, he would.

Georob said...

No Anon 1119:

People started returning downtown because it was affordable, available, and different. They may be the hottest thing now, but it doesn't start out that way. If you're a ballpark developer you want to get in an urban area while it's still cheap, like the Giants did.

Problem is that families are not moving into downtowns at the same rate, if at all. And that is a major component of a baseball teams's market.

The "urban renaissance" is a very small component of the real estate market. People still want single family homes with yards, but if it means moving to Tracy, many will consider an Oakland condo instead. However, give them a chance to find something reasonable in Walnut Creek and they'll take it every time.

Dejean said...

As usual, Georob doesn't understand Oakland or its peoples.

I live in Oakland, work, in Oakland, and shop in Oakland. I pretty much stay in the city because I choose to. I'd rather support local merchants than chains, even if it costs me more. Whrn I hear peoples say that they SYMPATHISE with us, I say no thank you.

If you understood it, you'd know. You don't.

pudgie child said...

It should be remembered that relatively few of the ballparks that opened in the multipurpose era were truly built in suburbs. St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati all opened cookie-cutter stadiums in that era, but they were all located downtown (or across the river from downtown in Pittsburgh's case). The Kingdome and Metrodome were also located adjacent to their respective downtowns. And even thought the Angels moved to Anaheim in 1966, it was their fourth choice. Their first choice was a new ballpark adjacent to the L.A. Coliseum. And, even though they were not built "downtown," neither RFK Stadium or the Vet can be called "suburban" ballparks.

Anonymous said...


That's about the most smug, self-congratulatory, condescending post I've seen on this blog in quite awhile.

Quite heavy on subjective thoughts though and little objectivity to it though; yeah, I "get it". You had no facts with which to respond to GeoRob's well written, non-inflammatory posts, so you pull the "you don't understand us" post.

Let me respond to that tripe here - DeJean, you speak as if Oakland and "its people's" are one big group that thinks as they are of one mind.

Clearly you, are in the minority when it comes to Oakland residents willing to fork over tax $$$ when it comes to putting a new stadium in downtown Oakland.

Clearly, many, if not an overwhelming majority, certainly a clear majority of Oakland residents desire their tax dollars be spent elsewhere, be it affordable housing, infrastructure, police & safety and other issues.

Yep. I "get it". You need to scamper on back to

Anonymous said...

I think you build the ballpark in the area where it's most convenient for your customers and you build it in an area which will help preserve our environment. You don't build it somewhere simply because the land is cheap. Also, because of the fact that California is a progressive State which leads the country in environmental issues, the Oakland A's should make an extra effort at locating the ballpark in an area which will not add to the environmental problems which many people in California are working hard to alleviate.

The Oakland A's should build the ballpark in Oakland, a city which has just been named the "greenest" in the United States. Downtown Oakland, an area with great public transit and easy access to the current fan base, make it the logical location for the new ballpark. A ballpark in the car dependent suburbs is a step backwards for the environmentally conscious Bay Area.

The Oakland A's need to look at this issue as a regional environmental issue which will have an effect on the quality of life of every resident in the Bay Area for years to come. If it happens to cost a little more to build in an environmentally friendly area, then so be it. After all, this is California, we can't go backwards while the rest of the country is building parks in urban, transportation friendly, downtown settings. Build it in Downtown Oakland. It makes sense for the Bay Area and it makes sense for California.

anon-a-mouse said...

Sounds great. Please enlighten us with the myriad available plots of land in downtown Oakland to build a stadium.