SBD/November 14, 2011/Facilities

Wilf Makes Clear Commitment To Build Vikings Stadium In Arden Hills

Wilf wants to use 170 acres at the Arden Hills site for commercial development
Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf in a letter to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton Friday emphasized that he is "committed to building a football stadium in Arden Hills -- and only in Arden Hills," according to Frederick Melo of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Wilf said that the $400M or more that he and the NFL "are willing to dedicate to a $1.1 billion stadium is site-specific." If the state "chooses Minneapolis or another location for the new stadium, the money won't follow." Wilf "isn't considering the 430 acres in Arden Hills only for a 65,000-seat, state-owned stadium and upward of 20,000 parking spots; he wants 170 of those acres for commercial development" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/12). Along with their letter to Dayton, the Wilfs "attached color illustrations of a tailgating scene outside a stadium labeled 'Minnesota Sports Complex,' and an aerial view of the stadium at night with the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the distance." The Wilfs Friday said that they were "disappointed that Ramsey County's proposed half-cent sales tax has been dropped" as a funding option. But they added that they are "'encouraged' by recent meetings of legislative leaders about the stadium" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/12).

MAKING UP THE DIFFERENCE: In Minneapolis, Mike Kaszuba noted the team has "pledged at least $407 million toward a new football stadium, but calculations by state officials show that the team would bring roughly $225 million of its own money to the deal and possibly less." The rest "could be made up through a National Football League loan that would be repaid by visiting teams and the sale of personal seat licenses." Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Ted Mondale said, "They keep their stuff extremely close to the vest." The Vikings have "resisted attempts to break down how much their organizations would bring to a stadium deal" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/13).
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