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Twins, Hennepin County planning major transit hub at Target Field

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Target Field Station

It's billed as something comparable to Grand Central Terminal, as $79.3 million transit hub Target Field Station is set to open in 2014 next to Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.

Target Field was designed with transit in mind; when the ballpark opened, the lone light-rail transit line in the Twin Cities, the Hiawatha Line, was extended to end at the ballpark. Since then, light rail was expanded with a northern Twin Cities route and a downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul route. With more light rail on the docket, there was a need for a central train station in downtown Minneapolis. (There is one in downtown St. Paul: Union Depot was renovated and will serve nicely as a transit terminus when the new St. Paul Saints ballpark opens.) The Twins and United Properties -- a real-estate development firm also owned by the Pohlad family, which owns the Twins -- are investing in the project and will have a continuing hand in the station's operations.

The facility will be more than a train station, however: it will contain a public plaza, an amphitheater, retail, parking and green space. From the Star Tribune:

In the deal, which has been the subject of closed-door negotiations for more than a year, the Twins and United Properties will pay $3.7 million to the county: $1.75 million in cash, $240,000 to defray the cost of building 250 parking spaces for future office space, $750,000 for a jumbo display screen overlooking the 65,000-square-foot public plaza, and $1 million in unspecified enhancements and features. The team and Metropolitan Transit also will divide operating costs for the plaza, which will include maintenance, security and programming.

The Hiawatha light-rail line — now the Blue Line — already snakes past the three-year-old ballpark to the Mall of America. The Central Corridor running down University Avenue to St. Paul’s Union Depot will open next year. The Southwest Corridor running to the suburbs is in development as the next line, and the Bottineau line heading northward is in public planning discussions. The North Star commuter rail line departs within steps of new station....

Funding for the project is coming from many sources, including $17 million in state bonding money, more than $20 million in federal grants, $1.8 million from the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (part of which is for three public art projects at the site) and $500,000 from Minneapolis. County taxpayers were to pay $22 million initially, but portions of the Twins deal could shave that contribution to $16 million in coming years.

Rendering courtesy Hennepin County.

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