Stadiums are often proposed to revitalize commerce and growth in the neighborhood around the stadium and in the city itself. The Minnesota Twins’ new ballpark, Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn., has been an example of this success. It is estimated that the Twins now contribute $19 million in tax revenue and have increased the development of the downtown area. Over $70 million worth of building permits were issued for projects near the stadium. Across the street from Target field is Target Center, home to the Timberwolves, which in the last year has received $100 million for a reconstruction program and another $50 million in capital improvements.
Target Field has also been a success in the redevelopment of industrial areas – known as brownfield redevelopment. The ballpark is located in the previous warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis and architectural firm Populous was charged with “creating a dynamic public space from the 3-dimensional chaos.” Designers successfully built the 40,000 person stadium on a site that is 95 percent smaller than most professional baseball stadiums.
Within a few blocks of the stadium there are eight public transit stops, ranging from buses to rail. Yesterday marked the opening of Target Field Station, which connects the North Loop Neighborhood to the rest of the city as well as become regional transit hub. The station already contains the Blue and Green Lines; and the Blue Line alone brings over 10,000 fans for Twins games. Three possible light rail extensions are being proposed as well as a high-speed connection to Duluth, Minn. The high-speed rail project is expected to attract over $2 billion dollars in investment and 13,000 jobs along its route.
Besides efficient site use, Target Field is the greenest in the country and is LEED Silver Certified. About 72 percent of waste is recycled and unused food has been donated to charities, with 55,000 hot dogs, 8,000 hamburgers, and 3,500 chicken breasts finding their way to hungry mouths. Also, in a partnership with Minnesota State Parks and Trails, the Twins plant 100 trees for every bat a Twins pitcher breaks. From 2011 to 2012, this led to almost 34,000 trees being planted.
The ballpark is also one of the most efficient stadiums in the nation. Target Field uses a state-of-the-art water recycling system that recycles over 3 million gallons of water as well as, saves 14,000 to 21,000 gallons of water; 86 gallons of gasoline; and 57 man-hours of labor. Alexandra Cousteau, the granddaughter of the famous explorer Jacque Cousteau, toured the stadium for Exhibition: Blue Planet – a series on critical water stories – and was impressed by the ballpark’s water recycling system. In an age of high sports business competition and climate change, Target Field serves as a peek into the future of sports arenas.
Target Field has been a success not only because of its design but how it has reinforced the community around it. Most stadiums fail because fans do not stay before and after games. This can be seen in Phoenix’s experience with Chase Field and its lack of incorporation into its downtown. Development around Target Field has spurred not only new homes but bars and restaurants as well. The Target Field Station also has a plaza for shopping, dining, as well as a large “green” stage to host concerts and pre-game rallies. A few blocks from the ballpark, the Fulton Brewery opened the Twin Cities first brewery taproom, which makes a local favorite called Sweet Child of Vine. Reinforcing this new trend in microbrews, Target Field now carries many local favorites. The way the stadium fosters a community and culture around residents and fans has livened the city, creating a truly successful stadium. Target Field’s business model and sustainability measures have lead to real savings, brand improvement, and economic development. This has helped reinforce that sustainable stadiums not only belongs in the science section of the paper, but the business section as well.