SBD/December 6, 2013/Facilities

Rooftop Signs From Wells Fargo Becoming A Sticking Point In Vikings Stadium Project

Vikings execs oppose the signs because they could affect naming rights efforts
A $400M deal to "reshape the east end of downtown Minneapolis is plowing ahead at City Hall, but controversial rooftop signs are proving to be a major last-minute hurdle," according to Eric Roper of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. City officials on Thursday unveiled more details about the plan "shaping up on Star Tribune land next to the new Vikings stadium, including office space, apartments, retail, a parking ramp and a park." Ryan Cos. is financing $350M of the proposal, which will "feature the largest Minneapolis office development in 22 years." But the expected owner of the new office buildings, Wells Fargo, is "demanding bright logos atop the buildings that would be visible during football game aerial shots." The signs would "require a change in the zoning code and are fiercely opposed by the Vikings, who say the signs could hurt their efforts to sell naming rights on the stadium." Ryan VP/Development Rick Collinssaid, "It’s an important issue for Wells Fargo that has to be resolved before they’ll make a final commitment to moving forward." Outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak, "supports Wells Fargo’s request." Wells Fargo spokesperson Peggy Gunn said, "We are making a $300 million investment, that’s what’s on the table here. And we think it’s reasonable that some signs reflecting this investment be allowed" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/6). The STAR TRIBUNE's Roper noted the plan "features 400 apartments and about 22,000 square feet of retail" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 12/5).

MAY I HAVE A SEAT? In Minneapolis, Abby Simons reported about 70 schools, colleges, and nonprofits have asked about the folding plastic bleacher chairs from the Metrodome "in chunks of 200 to 300 at a time for their facilities." But Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen on Thursday said that while some seats will "take the auction block, taking them apart and handing them out to deserving organizations isn’t simple or cheap." She said, "It's become a stumbling block for us for us to figure out what the cost is going to be and what people can reasonably pay." She cited estimates by Mortenson Construction as showing that the cost associated with removing the seats is about "$48 per chair." When multiplied "by the 20,000 chairs requested by the nonprofits ... the total cost is $960,000" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 12/5).
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Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Facilities

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