A goal of the Twins since they unveiled plans for their new ballpark, Target Field, was to provide a strong "gateway" to the field from downtown Minneapolis. For fans walking to Target Field from downtown, the first glimpse they will get of the new Twins ballpark is the more than two-acre bridge spanning the I-394 corridor between Sixth and Seventh Streets in the Warehouse District. That area will be known as Target Plaza, and on Wednesday, Target Corporation and the Twins unveiled the plans for this new "gateway."
"The Minnesota Twins are proud to have this opportunity to partner with Target Corporation on the creation of this public gathering place adjacent to Target Field," Twins Sports Inc. president Jerry Bell said. "Target Plaza promises to be a dynamic addition to downtown Minneapolis -- both on game days and non-game days." The Twins and Target announced plans to collaborate on the design of Target Plaza last September after agreeing to a 25-year deal that gave Target the naming rights to the ballpark. Both entities will combine to contribute close to $9 million to the project. Minneapolis-based Oslund and Associates worked with HOK Sport of Kansas City to create the design, which will enhance the look of the pedestrian bridge and public gathering space. Among the notable design elements of Target Plaza will be a green roof system with trees, shrubs, perennials and turf areas, three sweeping shade canopies to provide shade for fans and a line of nine, 40-foot tall topiary metal "bat" frames on which annual vines will grow throughout the baseball season. The north side of the plaza is bordered by the Ramp B parking facility. To dress up that area, a 285-foot long by 60-foot high kinetic wind sculpture will be attached to the wall. The "wind veil" will be composed of thousands of aluminum flaps that move with the air currents. The sculpture will also be back lit with LED lights, creating changing patterns of light and color as the panels move in the wind. A fan and player tribute wall will be incorporated on the plaza edge near the ticketing area. And the walking surface of the plaza will feature an architectural paving pattern that incorporates a subtle use of the Target logo. There is also the possibility the club could add sculptures of legendary Twins players to the area. "Target Plaza will welcome fans and create a family-friendly, energetic space for pre-and post-game activities," said Shawn Gensch, vice president of marketing of Target. "Public spaces are vital to our community. Target Plaza will be a wonderful addition to the downtown area and for Twins fans to enjoy for many years to come." The Minnesota Ballpark Authority, who is the public owner of Target Field and Target Plaza, is also working with the Twins to ensure that the plaza pedestrian bridge is extended all the way to First Avenue -- making it a true "gateway" into the downtown area. "This is a great day for the project," said Steve Cramer, chair of the Minnesota Ballpark Authority. "When we approved the ballpark budget, we said we were focused on getting the fundamentals right, including extending the plaza to First Avenue North. The Minnesota Twins and Target Corporation are to be commended for the generous contributions that will ensure we have a world-class public plaza next to a world-class ballpark."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.