Lee’s Liquor Lounge

When new ballparks open, you always hear about how they’re going to be a boon to local business. I’d suspect that there’s some truth to that, even if it’s overstated. I mean, you won’t be able to open up seventeen restaurants, a miniature golf course, and a shopping mall tomorrow afternoon, but you’d at least think that a cool, established bar near the new place would certainly benefit, right?

Tell that to Lou Sirian:

A prominent sight from the back parking lot at Target Field is the historic illuminated sign for Lee’s Liquor Lounge. This proximity to the Twins’ new home has caused many people to insist to Lee’s proprietor Lou Sirian that he’s looking at a financial bonanza come 2010.

“I don’t buy it,’’ Sirian said. “That lot is going to be for the elite – the players and the people with the most expensive seats. They aren’t coming over here.’’

OK, Lou, but you’re about five-minute walk from a stairway for the masses. Surely, some of those folks will stop for a $4 pregame beer, rather than paying $8 inside the ballpark?

“That’s what we thought when Target Center opened,’’ Sirian said. “That was 20 years ago, and I’m still waiting for my first customer because of Target Center.”

After reading the whole article you get the sense that Sirian is a pathological pessimist, because by all accounts — both from the article and from people I know in Minnesota — his place is an institution, and yes, people are going to want to go there before and after games. But I like curmudgeons, so I kind of like to hear him complain and moan about everything.

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  1. go zips said...

    being from northeast ohio and here for the openings of gund arena and jacobs field, it was also said that local business would boom. well, right across the parking lot from the ballpark is a bar which has opened and closed at least four time under new management since jacobs field opened. restaurants come and go on the premise that customers will flock to their establishments before and after games. when the tribe was consistently in the playoffs and tickets were at a premium, this may have been true – people hoping to get cheap tix ended up tipping a few at the nearby tavern, but with crowds dwindled to less than half capacity, this is not the case. and, anyone who thinks that CROWDS will walk in the downtown cleveland winter from a pregame watering hole to the arena has never done so.

  2. Pete Toms said...

    I’ve not been to Lee’s but if you’re an alt country fan it is a famous place.  I was big into the “Minneapolis” scene in the 80’s and 90’s so I have a romanticized notion about it.

    @ go zips.  My reading reveals that the promise of a boost to the local businesses surrounding a new stadium have been proven false.  In fact the new stadiums come with better food, restaurants and shopping than the old ones and some argue as a result have a negative impact on the neighboring hospitality providers.  Local businesses can suffer also from the increased traffic in their neighborhoods on game days.  Ultimately, most who go to the game don’t hang around the hood before or after the game.  They go to the game and then go home.

    Having said all that, thank goodness the Twins are moving out of the Metrodome.  I am so sick of seeing balls hit off the “baggy”.

  3. Nick said...

    Living in San Francisco, I can say that I’ve witnessed a new ballpark (Pac Bell, AT&T;, SBC Park) create more of a boon to the local neighborhood than anyone could ever have imagined.  It moved into an area that was depressed and run down, and has since created high rents for businesses that are profiting where empty buildings once stood.  The property values in the surrounding areas have increased enough to allow anyone who invested beforehand to forever live comfortably on what they’ve earned (even now in this recession period).  The ballpark has led to an incredible revitalization for anything that is in that area.
    Simply put, building a ballpark properly will lead to a boon; but with poor planning, it will not.

  4. gotowarmissagnes said...

    Nick, there’s no doubt that the location of a ballpark can be a boon for a neighborhood.  The economic question, though is whether that’s a net increase in the overall region, or whether it’s just a transfer of economic activity from one region to another.  Sure, there’s more happening around the ballpark.  But, if there’s less happening elsewhere in the city as a result, the net effect is much smaller, maybe even zero.

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