Plan For New Vikings Stadium Next To Metrodome On Fast Track
Negotiators are "hurriedly finishing a plan that would have a new Minnesota Vikings stadium alongside the Metrodome substantially complete by 2016, requiring the team to play only a handful of games at the" Univ. of Minnesota, according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Ted Mondale said Friday that the "fast-moving plan should be completed this week and could dramatically accelerate a decision to select a location for the long-debated project." The latest proposal would have the Vikings "play at the Metrodome through 2015." By that time, a new stadium next-door "would be 75 percent complete." Mondale and a Vikings spokesperson said that the Metrodome would be "torn down and turned into a large plaza for pregame activities." The space would be "large enough to accommodate a $19 million parking ramp for the team." Mondale said, "I would think 2016 would be the 'go live' year." Both Mondale and the Vikings acknowledge that the "scramble to find yet another way -- and site -- for the stadium is being driven by the team's estimate that it would cost nearly $50 million for the Vikings to play at TCF Bank stadium for three years while a new stadium was built at the Metrodome" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/5).
OPEN-AIR DEBATE: In Atlanta, Tucker & Stafford noted the Falcons' "desired open-air stadium might wind up with a retractable roof if ongoing negotiations get bogged down." While both the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority said that the "focus remains on trying to reach a deal that would put the team in an outdoor stadium and preserve the nearby Georgia Dome for indoor events, neither side shuts the door on the option of an indoor/outdoor, retractable-roof facility." That option would be "much more expensive, could make the Dome unneeded and would represent a change in stance for the Falcons, who have expressed a preference for an open-air stadium without the added cost of a retractable roof." Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay: "As we've said before, a variety of options have been on the table for quite some time, and none of them have been eliminated to date" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/4). When asked what would bring a Super Bowl back to Atlanta, Falcons Owner Arthur Blank said, "One of the ways is to have an open-air stadium, to be honest. The owners are very sensitive and typically very supportive of communities where there's financial public support for a new stadium" (11alive.com, 2/6).