SBJ/January 7-13, 2013/Facilities

Skanska decides it will compete for Vikings project

Skanska USA, builder of four NFL stadiums, will compete for the job to build a facility for the Minnesota Vikings, said Tom Tingle, the firm’s senior vice president and national sports director.

Typically, those decisions are not considered hot news. In this case, though, it is noteworthy considering that a competitor, Turner Construction, a builder of 11 NFL venues, chose not to pursue the project because of what company officials believe is a competitive disadvantage in the Twin Cities. Over the past 20 years, Mortenson, a local contractor with a national profile, has been selected to build arenas for the Timberwolves and Wild and stadiums for the Twins and University of Minnesota Gophers.

Skanska, builder of 2-year-old MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the most recent NFL stadium to open, had the same concerns as Turner. Company executives decided to propose after having discussions with Icon Venue Group and Hammes Co., the firms serving as owner’s representatives, respectively, for the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the entity managing the stadium development.

“We had conversations with people close to the project who pointed out that the firms selected as the architect and structural engineer were not the favorite sons,” Tingle said.

HKS, the Vikings’ stadium designer, was chosen over Populous, the architect of Target Field, Xcel Energy Center and TCF Bank Stadium.

Thornton Tomasetti, the project’s structural engineer, won that job over Walter P Moore, which has designed every NFL stadium with a retractable roof, said Jenifer Johnson, a senior associate with Thornton Tomasetti.

The Vikings’ stadium will have a retractable feature, but a decision has not been made on whether it will be a roof or a movable wall, said Lester Bagley, the team’s vice president of public affairs and stadium development.

Hunt Construction, a builder of 14 NFL stadiums, is teaming with a partner from Minneapolis to submit a proposal, said Ken Johnson, Hunt’s executive vice president and division manager. The partner will be announced at a later date.

The proposal for hiring a construction manager was issued by the sports authority Dec. 7. A selection is to be announced Feb. 1.

Construction is scheduled to start in October, with completion set for July 2016. The $975 million project includes $690 million in hard construction costs, according to the document.

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