I guess I might as well take a look at the other two talked-about Minneapolis sites too. I'll give you a preview: I do not like them, and I do not think they compare well to the other options.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, my high-tech graphical rendering, which shows both the Farmers Market and the Linden Ave. site (as they are right next to each other, sort of):
Let's start with Linden Ave., which is in green on my map. And let's start with full disclosure. I can see this site from my bedroom window. That makes me want to like it, because it would be cool to be able to look out at the stadium, and maybe into it on game days. But nonetheless, I don't like this site at all.
Why, you ask? Because it would be wedged in a spot that's surrounded on three sides by freeway and on the fourth by a rail corridor. Those are nearly permanent barriers to integrating the stadium into the surrounding area. Please also note I'm guessing as its exact contours (the corner that's cut out in the northeast is my assumption that the newish public works building will remain) as I've not seen anything precise about the "plan," but the possibilities are pretty limited.
At first glance, you might think the proximity to 94 and 394 and the heavy rail line would make for good access to the site. Unfortunately, I'm skeptical that you can easily add vehicle access because the roads around here are already pretty tangled. And even if you could, where are you going to put new parking? You're hemmed in. Which I guess means people have to park at the Hawthorne ramp and those adjacent to the Target Center. They aren't particularly close, they don't offer tailgating at all. And are there enough spots? Moreover, the the North Star Service stops at Target Field, so that's no help either (and wouldn't be much help even if it was extended due to it's limited service area).
Beyond that, there doesn't seem to be anywhere for new development or fan experience-enhancing activities. Just looking at the map, you might think it could be combined with the Farmers Market, but again, you've got that rail corridor in that way.
I just don't see much upside here.
A superficial advantage of the Farmers Market facility is that it's got video images we can look at and evaluate. At first glance, it looks pretty good. There's a greenway/corridor to connect it to Target Field. There's an outdoor plaza for pre and post-game fun. And generally the site's just a lot bigger. (By the way, sometimes you hear concern that Sharing and Caring Hands would be displaced, but based on the video that appears not to be the plan. It's in the little triangle to the northeast of the site). But I still see some issues.
First is that this site is almost as hemmed in. It's got 94 to the west, the rail corridor to the south and housing, Target Field and the county incinerator (or whatever it is) to the east. That means three sides with little chance for much integration with the surrounding city and no chance of adjacent development. To be fair, 94 is elevated here, and you can pass underneath, so the stadium might help a little with redevelopment around the International Market Square and nearby parts of North Minneapolis, but I'm not sure how much opportunity is there because there are already a number of newer housing developments. There are also some commercial/light industrial buildings north of the site across Olson Memorial Highway that look like they might be underutilized, so maybe something can happen there. Again, I'm not sure how much but certainly more than Linden Ave. So I guess there's some upside for the city, and maybe there is a deal or two that Wilf could profit from, but it's nothing like the big spaces that could be developed near the dome site, they are currently privately owned and, frankly, it's a less appealing part of the city.
As for parking, well, that's basically the same story as Linden Ave. In the plan in that video, there isn't anywhere that jumps out as a convenient location for added parking unless you want to abandon part of the plaza, and that still wouldn't net you much. There is some open space farther west past 94 and IMS, but that's not very close and seems unlikely to be included in the deal. So people are going to be forced into existing parking that isn't particularly close, may not be enough, and offers no tailgating at all. I'd say that's bad from a fan experience perspective.
Finally, a personal reason I'm not keen on this site. I've seen what the "stadium district" in Philadelphia is like. It's a football and baseball stadium off at the edge of the city by themselves that are completely abandoned when there isn't a game on (and in that case, surrounded by empty parking lots). I think that's something to avoid. Empty buildings (and empty parking lots) benefit no one and I think you get a lot more bang for your public buck if you spread your subsidized development projects around.
If you had to pick, which Minneapolis site seems best to you (no, you can't say Arden Hills)?
Linden is a type of tree. I like trees. Linden Ave.! (2 votes)
Agriculture and the free market are my two favorite things. Farmers Market! (5 votes)
I like to recycle. Give me Strib/Armory/Dome! (12 votes)
Other (you better not say Arden Hills, darn you) (10 votes)
29 total votes