About a month ago, tax payers in Minnesota learned that the new Twins ball park’s cost would be $8 million dollars more than anticipated. At the time, Hennepin County enforced a newly-minted eminent domain law, taking title over the land where the proposed stadium would be built.

County commissioners approved an escrow payment of $13.755 million for the value of the land, but, guess what, the landowners didn’t like it. So they took the county to court for a condemnation hearing. The ensuing legal fight came at taxpayers expense, as Hennepin County attorneys were getting paid at the $320-an-hour rate; totaling about $8 million in fees.

twins-new-stadium.jpgFrom a July 7th AP report:

And the county could be liable for “reasonable attorney fees, litigation expenses, appraisal fees, other expert fees and other related costs” if the condemnation award is more than 40 percent greater than the county’s original offer, which was made before it filed for condemnation last November.

The county says it offered $13.35 million for the land at that time, but the landowners say they never received a formal offer before condemnation papers were filed.

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, the County Board’s lead stadium negotiator, said the ownership group is trying “to drive up legal fees and have a long ugly battle” in hopes of getting a better offer from the county. Instead, Opat is focused on a land-option agreement between Hines and Land Partners II that was revealed last week.

Opat said the agreement shows that Land Partners II would sell the property to Hines for about $19 million, far below their claim last week that it is worth more than $65 million.

Well, guess what.

At the start of a nearly monthlong condemnation hearing in June, a lawyer for the landowners had said the parcel was worth $65.38 million. County officials had formally offered $13.35 million for the downtown Minneapolis parcel, and a real estate appraiser hired by the county said that the property’s worth is $17.23 million.

The landowners, represented by Land Partners II, a limited liability partnership, and Hines Interests, a Texas developer, said Monday they had not decided whether to appeal the award and by and large withheld public comment.

“It was $10 million more than what they offered,” Rich Pogin, a Land Partners II official, said of the $23.8 million award.

That’s right. Hennepin County had offered around $13 million for the property, but the courts decided it was actually worth $23.8 million, that’s $10 million more – never mind that doesn’t include the legal fees, if the hearing ever went to trial.

But wait, there’s actually more:

Three hours after the ruling was made public, one of the three condemnation commissioners — the only real estate appraiser on the panel — filed a surprise dissenting report stating that he felt the land was instead worth $33.2 million.

“It’s a highly unusual and bizarre development,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, the lead stadium negotiator for the County Board.

twins-stadium-webcam.jpgSo one of the commissioners that was supposed to be on the people’s side turned against the other two, claiming the land was worth $20 million more than what the county had initially offered.

Although the dissenting report filed by Larry Tucker, a real estate appraiser for 32 years, has no official bearing on the panel’s award, it could push the owners of the stadium site toward an appeal and lengthen what has already been a nine-month public feud over the value of the land where the 40,000-seat stadium will be built.

That’s right! The legal fight isn’t over! Meaning those legal fees could add up and up!

That sucks Twins fans, but you guys should be up in arms about this. Not only is the stadium going to be more expensive, according to county commissioner Mike Opat, it “might not be as great and grand.” What a crock!

3 Responses to “The real estate bubble still playing tricks with the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota public officials”

  1. Alejandro says:

    Sit tight Bobby, your record is bound to fall, just like the others.

    After this one, White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen considered arguing the final bang-bang play at first that ended the game but instead kept quiet. He knows he could catch Braves manager Bobby Cox for career ejections one day. Cox picked up his major league record 132nd Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants.

    “Any time I say something to the umpire, major league baseball makes money,” Guillen said. “I want to know what they do with my money. They should pay my taxes. … I’m going to call [Cox] tomorrow, send him a box of cigars and tell him, ‘I’m right behind you.'”

  2. Good real estate info. Thanks for the read!

    As far as the real estate bubble goes, it looks worse in San Diego.

    I came across a San Diego real estate broker’s blog post that is to be the only one I’ve seen that does not spout the ‘industry line: “It’s always a good time to buy real estate.” This broker calls it like it is. No it’s not PC, but it is amazingly informative and insightful.

    Bob Schwartz, the San Diego real estate broker who publishes the blog, wrote a great article back in 2005 that predicted today’s huge home deprecation. You can read this article at: San Diego real estate the url is:


  3. Believe what you want, but the reality is that the San Diego real estate market peaked in summer ’05 and ever since, the value of homes has been in a decline. It’s even at the point where many San Diego neighborhoods have decreased in worth by double digits!

    If you don’t believe me, look at the facts. Check out these examples of median home value drops on resale homes from the local San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper (3-18-2007). And these figures are only since February 2006:

    Coronado 50%, La Jolla 15.6%, Pacific Beach 15.8%, North Park 15.8%, Ocean Beach 19.1%,San Carlos 19.1%.

    (You can view the full chart at: http://www.brokerforyou.com/brokerforyou/index.php?paged=2)

    The average San Diego home price is around $550,000. That would mean that a 15% decline would cost a homeowner $82,500! If a home was bought last year, even with a 20% down payment, it could now be worth MUCH LESS than the cost of its mortgage!

    My predictions for the future of the San Diego housing market are as follows: I believe that the near future holds a seasonal sales pick-up but that in a few months, the downward trend will re-establish itself and not only continue, but likely worsen as the popular adjustable rate mortgages from the last few years come up for their first adjustment.

    San Diego housing values could easily be down 25 to 30% from their summer 2005 values by the end of 2007. Only a fool would believe the old industry slogan that “it’s always a good time to buy real estate”.

    For some great ‘insider’ articles on the San Diego real estate market, which I believe will apply to any of the hot real estate markets of the past five years… visit:


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