CHALLENGE. When Populous designers first walked the Target Field site, located in the historic warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis, it made them think differently about the potential for ballpark design. It would take a leap of faith by the design team and the Minnesota Twins to squeeze every element of a 40,000-seat ballpark onto an eight-acre site – a site smaller than 95 percent of existing pro ballparks.
Facing a complex labyrinth of city elements that formed the physical limitations of the site – including viaducts, a freight train line, commuter rail lines, an interstate, two parking garages, a waste incinerator plant and an underground creek to name a few – Populous was dealt one of the most challenging projects in its history. The planning goal was to create a dynamic public space from the 3-dimensional chaos.
INNOVATION. Target Field is the most urban ballpark in the major leagues. The stadium maximizes its setting by creating pedestrian bridges to connect the ballpark to the city. Its urban appeal is enhanced with the addition of new, immediate access to every possible form of public transportation and the acclaimed Target Plaza, the park’s ‘public garden,’ which beckons Minnesotans to the site year-round. The ballpark’s modern, urban appeal is enhanced with the addition of new, immediate access to light rail, commuter rail and bike trails all embedded into the core transportation systems of the city, helping to bridge the site to its urban surroundings.
Attending a game at Target Field is a fan experience beyond the exciting baseball action on the field. Due to its design, it is estimated that at any given moment during a game, 8,000 fans roam the ballpark – with clear views of the game – at any one time.
IMPACT. Since its opening, the $545 million ballpark has won praise for its many green features and unique design. Named Sports Facility of the Year in 2011 by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and ranked the best stadium experience in all professional sports in North America by ESPN The Magazine, the LEED Silver certified Target Field has transformed the city of Minneapolis, the urban experience and the team.
Area construction permits are up; condo sales are up; hotel occupancy is up and the ballpark has helped reposition the Twins into one of sport’s most successful operations. Downtown has been extended by two blocks with plans for development beyond, including a major intermodal transit hub. Community involvement, approved plans and higher density TOD zoning are ready.
Target Field continues to preserve Minnesota’s wonderful baseball tradition and adds an exciting new dimension to the quality of life. It’s an inviting landmark and an intimate home for America’s great pastime.