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Panel says ballpark land worth $23.8M

Panel says ballpark land worth $23.8 million

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Hennepin County will have to pay $10 million more than was budgeted for the land on which to build a new Twins ballpark if the ruling of a three-person panel stands.

Monday morning, the panel appointed to study the case ruled that the downtown Minneapolis parcel of land upon which the Twins' new playing facility will be built is worth a total of $23.808 million. That total is significantly more than the $13.75 million the county had offered to pay Land Partners II -- the owners of the property -- and significantly less than the price the owners had sought.

In May, the county approved payment of $13.75 million to the landowners to begin quick-take action, so clearing of the site and initial construction could begin. In the finding issued to the county, the panel said that the money already paid will be credited against full payment of the $23.808 million.

County commissioners convened a meeting on Monday morning to decide their next course of action. Both the county and Land Partners II have the right to appeal the panel's decision and seek a trial to determine a final value for the land.

The panel, made up of retired judge Robert H. Schumacher, Richard Black and Larry Tucker, determined that the land itself was worth $22.408 million, and that the land owners were owed another $1.4 million for severance and temporary easements.

County and Twins officials have noted in the past that they have $90 million total to spend on land and infrastructure and will need significant dollars for the adjoining roads, bridges and walkways that are expected to surround the new facility, which is scheduled to open in time for the 2010 baseball season.

Jess Myers is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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