A project like Target Field is a great economic catalyst. There is an immediate surge in economic development for venues that complement the baseball park. In the long term, more businesses are attracted to the area, which results in more residents coming to the area to work, play and even live – a home run!
Brownfields Project Manager Office of Environmental Programs City of Phoenix
Please provide a brief overview of the project.
Formerly a stagnant parking lot, this site has now been transformed into one of the most accessible sports facilities in all of American sports. Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, sits at the convergence point of the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit, the Northstar commuter rail line, the Cedar Lake Bike Trail, and Interstates 394 and I-94. This spring, Minnesota Twins fans celebrated the April 12th season opener in their new home: a one-million-square-foot, 40,000-seat, open-air ballpark. Sitting on an 8-acre site on the north edge of downtown Minneapolis, the ballpark features superior baseball sight lines from every seat and captures spectacular views of the Minneapolis skyline. Construction of the new ballpark completed December 22, 2009, finishing more than two months ahead of the planned completion date.
What makes this project unique? How does it stand out among other successful brownfield redevelopment projects?
When Carl Pavano threw out the first pitch to open Target Field on April 12, 2010, it was the culmination of nearly a decadeâ€™s worth of work to transform a once-stagnant parking lot on the northwest edge of downtown Minneapolis into a vibrant new addition to the urban scene. Target Field's location wasn't your typical ballpark site. Just more than eight acres - smaller than 95 percent of existing pro ballparks - the site was defined by a labyrinth of city elements. Viaducts, a freight train line, commuter rail lines, an interstate, two parking garages, a waste incinerator plant and an underground creek meant the design team coordinating with multiple civic entities to make lemonade from lemons. The site is located on an ancient river bed that is older, deeper and wider than the Mississippi River. The ballpark rests on 3,300 pipe piles driven almost 100 to bedrock.
The design team took advantage of the site constraints, creating bridges to connect the ballpark with the heart of downtown and thus expanding the site to more manageable proportions. Pieces of the building, including an outfield grandstand seating section and a club, were cantilevered over transit lines, creating a more intimate ballpark. A pedestrian bridge spanning over Interstate 394 formed Target Plaza, a year-round gathering space that serves as a public front door to the ballpark. And because the ballpark was designed to be so ingrained into the fabric of downtown Minneapolis, it was only fitting that the cityâ€™s public transit system be extended to the ballpark entry itself. Target Field features modern baseballâ€™s first fully integrated transit stop just feet from the third base entrance. On opening day, Metro Transit calculated that it carried at least 6,700 Twins fans to the game, five percent more than the typical transit takers for events at the Twinsâ€™ old home, the Metrodome. Public transit isnâ€™t the only option, though; the site also can be accessed by bus, bike trails, walking trails, the cityâ€™s skyway system or the nearly 27,000 parking spaces within a half-mile of the ballpark.
Target Field has extended downtown Minneapolis an additional two blocks. From a surface lot to a modern, professional sandlot, Target Field is a catalyst for future development in one of Minneapolisâ€™ last large downtown parcels. And the ballpark is already an award- winner; Minneapolis Finance and Commerce magazine named Target Field one of its Top Projects for 2010, recognizing the ballpark for its degree of difficulty, design creativity, innovative construction techniques and cooperation among contractors and construction management.
What were the primary funding sources (i.e. private or public) for the project and what were the total redevelopment costs?
When the Ballpark bill was approved by the Minnesota Legislature in 2006, the total estimated project budget was $480 million. The team's commitment to the project was to pay $130 million for ballpark construction costs and to pay for any additional ballpark enhancements or ballpark cost overruns. Under the terms of the legislation, the team had no responsibility for infrastructure costs. Hennepin County was committed to funding $350 million of the initial project budget, which includes $260 million for the ballpark and $90 million for infrastructure costs. In April 2010, the total ballpark project budget was increased to $555 million due to ballpark and infrastructure enhancements. One hundred percent of ballpark's enhancements and eighty percent of the infrastructure improvements were paid for by the team and private interests. In total, the team has contributed $195 million to the project and Target Corporation has added another $4.5 million for improvements to the plaza. Hennepin County's $350 million contribution has not changed. The other sources of public funds for the project include $2 million from the Minnesota Ballpark Authority ($1 million to fund LEED certification efforts and $1 million for public art and streetscape improvements); and Minnesota Department of Transportation contributed $3.5 million to fund the skyway connecting Ramp A to the ballpark and the public art in the Vertical Circulation Building.
What contaminants were present on the site? Please discuss what remediation technologies were used and what the total remediation costs were.
From the latter part of the nineteenth century until the 1980's the site that is now Target Field was the location of a railroad yard. Subsequent to the removal of the railroad tracks, the site was paved over and used as a surface parking lot until the recent construction of the stadium. Other structures known to formerly have been located on the site included railroad buildings, warehouses, and petroleum storage tanks -including one known leaking underground storage tank (LUST) site. Subsurface investigations of the site revealed that the parking lot was underlain by up to twenty feet of urban fill. The fill contained debris including cinders, clinker, concrete, brick, pavers and railroad ties. Contaminants identified by the subsurface investigations included petroleum compounds, arsenic, chromium, mercury, lead, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
A Response Action Plan was established and identified the remediation requirements for each type of contaminant. Subsurface urban fill items such as concrete and pavers were recycled and crushed. This rock was used to stabilize construction site entrances as part of our Storm Water Prevention Plan. Total cost of the remediation efforts totaled $2.5 million.
What kind of long-term economic benefits did the project bring to the local community, such as population increase, job creation, tax revenue generation, just to name a few possible benefits?
Early returns all point to Target Field as a community economic energizer. Twins fans are exploring an area of downtown many have never before explored. Real estate agents are reporting an up-tick in sales and inquiries in condos closest to the ballpark. Businesses near the ballpark are catering to Twins fans not only for longer hours before and after the game, but on non-game days as well for the curious crowd. While it is too soon to know the long-term economic benefits of the ballpark, Mike Christenson, the Director of the Minneapolis Department of Community Planning & Economic Development reports a significant increase in construction activity in the vicinity of the new ballpark. City records show $36 million in new construction permits have been issued within five blocks of Target Field within the last fifteen months.
"With the construction of Target Field, the Warehouse District has experienced resurgence as it once again is the spot for entertainment in the Twin Cities", said Joanne Kaufman, Executive Director of the Warehouse District Business Association. "Target Field has not only increased business at hospitality venues in the neighborhood but has also spurred interest from other businesses who want to be in what is a very exciting neighborhood. The construction of Target Field has also connected the Warehouse District with the rest of downtown Minneapolis. We look forward to the seasons ahead and continuing to welcome Twins fans to our great neighborhood."
How were economic results measured and how swift was the return on investment?
While it is still too soon to know the exact impact of the new ballpark, initial positive results have been measured by researching City issued permits and talking with real estate professionals. The realtors report that condos near Target Field are selling at a rapid rate, even as the overall housing market remains quite depressed in the region.
Prior to the 2010 season opener, Minnesota Public Radio stated, The Twins have sold enough season tickets this year to fill more than 24,000 seats per game. That's a record and more than twice as many as last year. It means more than half the seats in the ballpark were gone before the team started selling single-game tickets. Even with the season yet to begin, the Twins have sold more than two-thirds of the 3.2 million tickets they have available this season.
Was the project completed on time and on budget?
The project was completed two months ahead of schedule, with the City of Minneapolis issuing a Certificate of Occupancy on December 22, 2009. This additional time prior to the start of the MLB regular season allowed the Minnesota Twins to move in to their new headquarters and begin to operate the facility. Although the project grew in scope by $34 million (8.7%) over the span of the project, Mortenson Construction delivered the project within the original schedule and will give back a portion of the Guaranteed Maximum Budget. The final reconciliation of the budget totals is expected to be finalized by the end of summer 2010.
What was most challenging about your project?
Economically speaking the most challenging aspect of the project was securing the funding. A public funding package from the Minnesota State Legislature was approved in the fall of 2006 after over ten years of extensive work. Prior to the State's approval, the Minnesota Twins and Hennepin County announced their financial commitments. With the final selection of a site, and a complete funding package, came the realization that the ballpark project would proceed.
Did the project receive any loans, grants or financial assistance from any public or private organizations?
Initial funding for the project was provided by Hennepin County and the Minnesota Twins. In addition, Target Corporation funded enhancements to the public plaza that spanned over I-394. This allowed for numerous fan-friendly aspects to be incorporated into the design, including baseball bat-shaped topiaries, a giant bronze glove, and an artistic wind vale that shields the parking structure. The Minnesota Department of Transportation, after identifying the need for additional access into Target Field, funded an elevated walkway to connect to an adjacent parking garage and the Minneapolis skyway system. This also provided direct access into the Metropolitan Club, which is a special event space located within Target Field used for both game day and non-game day events.
Could you describe the collaboration that occurred among multiple parties to enable the project?
The required number of companies and individuals involved in a project of this size and overall public interest was extraordinary. Daily communication between the public and private entities including the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Metropolitan Council, Minnesota Ballpark Authority, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Twins, LLC , Major League Baseball, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, and local businesses with the design and construction team provided the groundwork for a very successful project. Identifying milestones throughout the project enabled all affected parties to provide input prior to the start of construction activities. Weekly ownership meetings, weekly subcontractor meetings, extensive use of virtual construction technologies and a detailed construction schedule ensured efficient communication to all parties.
What were the number of employees formerly employed at the site prior to abandonment, and primary job classifications at the former enterprise (e.g., mechanics, steelworkers, clerical, etc.)?
Prior to the construction of the ballpark, the site served as a surface parking lot. The total number of full time clerical employees operating the lot was less than five. Also, the Minnesota Twins operations were being operated at various locations within Minneapolis, including the HHH Metrodome, where all Twins home games were formerly played. The full time staff of the Twins prior to occupying Target Field was approximately 80 employees. In addition to full time staff, almost 1,000 employees were required for home games.
What are the number of employees currently employed at the site?
With Target Field, the Twins have increased their full time staff from 80 to 125. The number of part-time employees for game day operations has been increased to almost 2,000.