MINNEAPOLIS-The Minnesota Twins will break ground Aug. 30 on a new $522-million baseball stadium, though first a moderating panel will decide Monday how much the current property owners will be compensated for the site, on Third Avenue between Fifth and Seventh streets. Hennepin County has acquired the site, a former parking lot and rail line, through eminent domain, but is arguing before the panel that the land is only worth about $14 million, and not the $65 million the owners claim.

The new park is supposed to be ready by 2010, in time to celebrate the ball club’s 50th season in Minnesota. The 40,000-seat stadium fills the need for the team’s own space, a Twins spokesman tells GlobeSt.com. The club shares the Metrodome now with the Minnesota Vikings. “The Twins want to stop playing baseball in a corner of a football stadium,” the spokesman says.

The Minnesota Ballpark Authority will own the new park, leasing it to the Twins for 30 years. A .0015 sales tax increase in Hennepin, excluding clothes, food, medical supplies and automobiles, will help fund the $90 million authorized to buy the land and do infrastructure. “Even if the panel authorizes the higher land value, it’s not going to stop anything; the horse is out of the barn on this. They just might have to take some money out of the infrastructure plans,” the spokesman says. Naming rights are now being negotiated, he says.

The one-million-sf stadium plans don’t include any exterior retail, he says. “I’m sure there will be retail going up along and around the stadium,” the spokesman says. “There’s really not a lot of development in the area, considered the North Loop area. This will build a new link to the downtown district, and add a whole new component to the Minneapolis experience,” he says.

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