SBD/April 18, 2011/Facilities

Downtown Minneapolis Gaining Momentum For New Vikings Stadium Site

MSFC giving a fresh look to Metrodome as site for new Vikings stadium
As Minnesota state legislators "begin to consider a site-neutral Vikings stadium bill, activity is picking up around the two downtown Minneapolis sites that helps burnish their appeal as well as highlight their differences," according to Kevin Duchschere of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The Metrodome site "is getting a fresh analysis" from Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Ted Mondale, "seeking ways to make a stadium there less expensive." On the "other end of downtown, in the shadow of popular Target Field, a site at the Farmers Market is gaining traction with the business community and Hennepin County Board Chair Mike Opat even though it would cost more." The Vikings also are "considering the hundreds of empty acres at an abandoned munitions plant in Arden Hills, a site being pushed by Ramsey County officials." But Duchschere noted much speculation for the Vikings' new facility has "centered on the Minneapolis sites." The Metrodome site "would be a relative bargain," but Target Field "has opened eyes to new opportunities in the North Loop area." Mondale said that he is "re-running the numbers and taking another look at the retractable-roof stadium designed for the Dome site by HKS Architects" in '09. The cost then was $870M, and Mondale "wants to see if that can be whittled down" by at least $100M (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/16).

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT: A STAR TRIBUNE editorial stated, "It's past time for key elected officials, local business leaders and the team to give the taxpaying public some specific answers on how and where the stadium could be built." There is "still time for a Target Field-like plan to come together -- and for the public to digest the details -- but approval remains a long shot this legislative session." If Vikings Owner the Wilf family "skips town because Minnesota refuses to compete with cities hungry for a new franchise, don't expect the NFL to return to the market anytime soon -- and never again without an adequate stadium" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/16).
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