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Bruce Lambrecht Speaking Up for Mpls. (Again)

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November 9, 2011

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Bruce Lambrecht and his associates sent a letter to Governor Mark Dayton and other state leaders last week that they hope will help change the face of sports in Minnesota.

Here’s how the letter begins: “For more than a year a group of interested citizens has been crafting and refining an urban revitalization plan that includes a new downtown Minneapolis site for the Vikings stadium, a redevelopment plan for the Metrodome, an exciting vision for what could be on the site of the current building, as well as a proposal for a new structure for financing and operating the region’s sports and entertainment facilities.”

Whew!

Attention commanding ideas from Lambrecht, a local real estate investment developer, and the other Minnesota-based letter signers, architect David Albersman and public affairs professional Mark Oyaas. Lambrecht and Albersman office separately in a building on North Washington Avenue. During an interview with Sports Headliners last week, Lambrecht jokingly referred to himself and Albersman as a couple of guys with a computer working from a building “next to a strip club” (Deja Vu).

But there’s no joking around about their intent as stated in the opening paragraph of the letter. This town learned to take Lambrecht seriously years ago when he advocated for the Rapid Park property that eventually became the site for Target Field.

Lambrecht and other land owners profited from that development. His newest mission is “civic” inspired, he claimed, and while he still owns property downtown he said his gain from a Farmers Market Vikings stadium site will be limited to the expected increase in real estate values that will benefit many landowners and the city.

Building a stadium at the city-owned Farmers Market site is an important piece in a concept Lambrecht and associates refer to as “The Corridor.” The vision is to connect sports and entertainment through transit.

With an emphasis on light rail and commuter train, people will connect to the Vikings stadium, Target Field, Target Center, the Hennepin Avenue entertainment district, Convention Center, Hennepin County Medical Center, a redeveloped Metrodome area, University of Minnesota venues including TCF Bank Stadium, Xcel Energy Center, RiverCentre and the Union Depot. And Lambrecht said a new Farmers Market site can be found near the old location.

The transportation synergy and proximity of attractions excites Lambrecht and others who want to maintain the economic vitality of Minneapolis, the lead city in the region. If downtown rots, the whole “apple (region) becomes rotten,” he said.

Albersman wrote in an October 28 Star Tribune opinion article that the proposed Arden Hills site for the Vikings stadium “flunks nearly every logical test.” He argues that the suburban site is “across the metro from the traditional season-ticket base.” He also views an Arden Hills site as not taking advantage of existing and planned transportation like downtown that also has bars, restaurants and other entertainment attractions already in place. The Arden Hills site throws more economic competition into the metro area mix, instead of maintaining and improving what’s already in place, according to downtown stadium advocates.

They envision the Farmers Market stadium site being an economic stimulus to the North Loop area of downtown. The stadium and other downtown attractions will be linked by rail, bus, bike, and, of course, car. Pedestrians will move through much of “The Corridor” by the skyway system.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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