State legislators blocked Hennepin County and Minneapolis from partnering for a Twins stadium bid, but a guy who suffered the most collateral damage was Bruce Lambrecht. Lambrecht heads the group that owns the Rapid Park lot, North 5th Street and 3rd Avenue, that had been anointed as Minneapolis' Downtown stadium site.
Lambrecht's partnership, Investment Management Inc., may have seen a $10 million payday fly out the window, but he's not asking for sympathy. "Plan A was always to run it as a parking lot," Lambrecht said. "Yeah, we created a website [urbanballpark.com] and we think it would be a good ballpark site, but it's been a lot and we'll continue to run it as a lot."
In the past several weeks, Rapid Park has received tons of free publicity as politicians staged frequent press conferences on its asphalt. But even though Lambrecht may now own the best-known parking lot in town, he insists the free marketing has not paid off in extra business. "Actually, overall, every parking lot Downtown is down since the Internet bust at the end of 2000," he said.
Has Mayor R.T. Rybak's tireless promotion of the site's freeway access and housing possibilities attracted nibbles from non-ballpark developers? "There haven't been any discussions," said Lambrecht, who still holds out hope for a Downtown Minneapolis ballpark.
"I haven't given up," said Lambrecht. "I just think we have to wait and see what happens with the St. Paul situation."