pipress: Stadiums as Development Tools?

I'm am so skeptical about stadiums being anything other than glorified parkland. Here's today's PiPress article about it.

Sports complexes can spark economic development, but look no further than downtown Minneapolis for an example of one that did and one that didn't.

At the east end of downtown lies the Metrodome, which, since its opening in 1982, has spun off one bar — Hubert's. On the west end is Target Center, which has spawned two dozen bars and restaurants since it opened in 1992. In St. Paul, the Xcel Energy Center has spurred the establishment or major renovation of about a dozen bars and restaurants.

But Xcel and Target Center were built in dense urban areas where redevelopment of nearby old buildings was a natural fit.

Of course, the Warehouse district (and W 7th St) would be hopping with or without a stadium there. There was even a recent study that showed local Saint Paul bars didn't lose any revenue during the year-long hockey strike, putting a big hole in the theory the the Xcel is anything other than a really expensive neon sign (at least from a development perspective.) Just look at the wasteland that has surrounded the Metrodome for the past 20 years.

Question: Can anyone think of a better development use for $1.5 billion? (Here's a hint: Think about two light rail lines . . .)


Driver2165 said...

the stadium is "only" 4-500 of that 1.5 billion.

a baseball stadium isn't automatically a development boon. but its can be. forget about ny, chicago, and boston. denver, baltimore, cleveland, san francisco all have recently built stadiums that revitalized their areas. of course there's also st louis, los angeles, seattle, and san diego which have done nothing but sprout highways and more gridlock.

the difference is that in the ones that work, you've got 25 to 45,000 people walking through the immediate neighborhoods from transit and from street parking many blocks away almost daily during the summer. san francisco is the best example. the ones that don't work, the stadiums have enormous parking lots, no transit, and, like the metrodome, no reason for developers to build anything but surface parking lots of their own.

there's got to be something there, already, however. the target center and the metrodome are great examples. you can't build a stadium in the middle of nothing and expect it to start shitting restaurants. the target center didn't create the warehouse district, but it most certainly helped out (too much, in my opinion. now we have no many 952s we can't get rid of them). it's a recursive relationship. the best place for a park would be lake and hiawatha. it'll never happen. we'll just end up with a poorly planned ballpark, and for the next 30 years, all we'll hear is critics of baseball going on and on about what disasters all ballparks, in general, are.

sorry about the lowercase

The Truth Hurts said...

What I hate most about stadium talk is that the new Vikings stadium is in Blaine. What will all the folks who used to work at the Dome do during football season? Sure, most would probably work at the new downtown Twins stadium, but what about the rest of the year?

And if development *occassionally* comes after a stadium and the prospective sites are Blaine and next to the Target Center--what else could possible be built up? That area of downtown is already pretty solid, and Blaine is, well, Blaine-- so who cares?