SBD/May 12, 2011/Facilities

New Details Of Proposed Vikings Stadium In Ramsey County Emerge

Vikings would get final say on whether stadium's roof is retractable
The Vikings "would cover some -- but not all -- of any cost overruns" for the team's proposed stadium in Ramsey County, "would get the final say on whether the roof is retractable and would get the lucrative stadium naming rights money," according to Kaszuba & Olson of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. A 12-page agreement of terms between the team and the county claims that the Arden Hills stadium "would open by June 2015, and include up to 150 private seats." The Vikings "would sign a 30-year lease," and they "would have the authority to decide on the stadium's design, development and construction." The stadium "would be publicly owned and be governed by a five-member stadium authority," but the Vikings "would operate and manage the facility and would own the 170 acres." All "stadium-generated revenue would go to the team, including from parking facilities, signs and naming rights." The Vikings "would pay for all municipal services such as security, traffic control and fire prevention." Kaszuba & Olson note while the Vikings are "obligated to commit $407 million to the project," the agreement indicates that team Owner Zygi Wilf's "own contribution could be significantly less than that." The $407M "would come not only from the team, but also the National Football League, the sale of private seat licenses and 'other private revenues generated by the project.'" The agreement "would not require Ramsey County to hold a voter referendum before imposing a sales tax increase -- a move that would require legislative approval." Legislative reaction to the proposal "continued to be mixed" yesterday. State officials said that building a stadium "would require $175 million in roadwork, and that building a stadium and any accompanying development would require" $240M (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/12).

ON SECOND GLANCE: In St. Paul, Dave Orrick reports Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday reiterated that the state's share of the project "should be no more than" $300M, and that extra roadwork "still should count against that" figure. However, "several key state lawmakers" yesterday said that the need to expand roads "needn't be a roadblock to the plan." The lawmakers, "a day after reviewing the stadium plan and the administration's projected road costs," said that they "believed the road costs were significantly higher than necessary." The Vikings and Ramsey County "maintain they'll need to pay for $80 million to $120 million in off-site road improvements" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/12).

ARDENT PURSUIT
: Wilf said of the Arden Hills site, "This is the best site, this is the most exciting site, this answers all the questions that we have, and this is the right time." In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman writes there is "no doubt that Wilf was very upset" that Minneapolis' $895M proposal for a downtown stadium was "announced to the media before the Vikings." Hartman: "I'm positive Wilf will not negotiate with any other site unless the current Ramsey County deal falls apart. And Wilf is determined to get it through the Legislature" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/12). Also in Minneapolis, Eric Wieffering writes the smart decision politically for Wilf "would have been to stay downtown." But "as a second-generation builder, he couldn't put away the possibility of getting his hands on 400 acres within 10 miles of downtown Minneapolis." Wieffering: "There are many good reasons why Developer Wilf would choose a sprawling, 400-acre site in Arden Hills over the cramped confines of downtown Minneapolis." But Wieffering adds, "Remember that a battery of legislators and the governor would need to sign off on another $150 million or so for road improvements. Even Owner Wilf might find that a tough sell" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/12).
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