Two square blocks between Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue formerly were occupied by the Star Tribune building and the main parking lot that employees enjoyed at a reasonable monthly rate.
The property was purchased to provide a more picturesque view from the new dome, with its heap load of glass in front. The theory sold in soliciting donations for the $22 million park was that the two blocks would be a splendid public gathering place.
First things first: The Edition Apartments were built and take up roughly one-third of the block abutting Fifth.
The Edition occupants appear to have the choice of a grand view of either the Hennepin County jail, temporary home to various rapscallions, or U.S. Bank Stadium, where the owners of the main tenant also have a family real estate business that was accused by a judge of “bad faith and evil motive’’ in a dealing with partners.
Ah, heck … that was in New Jersey, so what do we care?
The Commons label for the park is what has intrigued me. Various definitions suggest that a commons is a shared resource managed by a community — and a resource that cannot be monopolized by one group of individuals.
My assumption would be that means the monopolizing should not occur with primary tenants of publicly financed football cathedrals.
The Vikings will have full control over the Commons on game days, the day before, the day after and on other special occasions. The Super Bowl is arriving in February, and we might be seeing a preview this weekend of what the Commons will look like for commoners in the two weeks before the championship game.
The X Games are being held in and around The Zygi, attracting a large amount of youth that presumably would have enjoyed loitering on the greenery.
I’ve been observing that, with Nicollet Mall, Washington Avenue and other construction impasses, downtown Minneapolis has the look of Berlin a couple of years after the Big War.
In that vein, our gathering place, our front door to the dome, has its own version of the Berlin Wall surrounding every inch of the property. Our Downtown East Commons looks more like East Berlin, before Mr. Gorbachev tore down that wall.
There is a sturdy wire fence on the perimeter, with thick tarps attached to the fencing. The large stage for the musical acts is located inside. There’s a separate ticket for the music, and the promoters don’t want any commoners getting a free view of the acts.
You have to be much older than an X Games fan to remember, “Gentlemen, no fighting in the war room,’’ from “Dr. Strangelove.” This event needs a sign, “No free stuff in the common area.’’
There was a story in the Star Tribune this week on the financial shortfall faced with the Downtown East Commons. The Minneapolis park board has decided to use the park dedication fees collected from an 18-block downtown zone to cover as much as $8 million in so-far unrealized amenities planned for the Commons.
The park board will surrender 10 years of park dedication fees, which can’t have a positive impact on other projects.
That’s life. The Commons needs the roughly $800,000 a year to cover costs, and where else can you get money like that other than from the public fund for Minneapolis parks?
Let me think here.
I did see an item where the 32 NFL teams received a check for $244 million as their cut from the league’s “national revenue.’’ This was discovered in the Green Bay Packers’ annual financial report, the only one revealed because of the team’s public ownership. Don’t get the idea that a lousy $244 million was the Wilfs’ lone pot of gold with the Vikings in 2016.
The Packers’ local revenues — which teams get to keep for themselves — were $197.4 million. Considering Zygi was in his new suite- and club-filled stadium, let’s round off his local revenues at $200 million.
Green Bay claimed an operation profit of $65.4 million. Zygi would be in that neighborhood, and probably higher.
There’s also the fact the Wilfs paid $650 million for a franchise that was valued at $2.2 billion this week by Forbes. That’s low. It would take $3 billion to buy this NFL gold mine.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think it might hurt Zygi a bit less than the park board to come up with $800,000 annually to make the lawn beautiful outside of his publicly provided, millions-printing stadium. Especially when he can put a fence around the common space when he feels the urge.