Vikings Stadium

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For the Norwegian association football stadium, see Viking Stadion.
Vikings Stadium
Roof supports rise under patchy skies
Location 900 South 5th Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415
Coordinates 44°58′26″N 93°15′29″W / 44.97389°N 93.25806°W / 44.97389; -93.25806Coordinates: 44°58′26″N 93°15′29″W / 44.97389°N 93.25806°W / 44.97389; -93.25806
Owner Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority
Operator Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority
Capacity 65,000 (expandable to 73,000)[1]
Construction
Broke ground December 3, 2013[2]
Opened Projected 2016[9]
Construction cost $1.024 billion[3]
Architect HKS, Inc.
Vikings Stadium Consortium (Studio Hive, Studio Five & Lawal Scott Erickson Architects Inc.)[4]
Project manager Hammes Company[5]
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti[6]
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[7]
General contractor Mortenson Construction[8]
Tenants
Minnesota Vikings (NFL) (2016–) (planned)

Vikings Stadium is the working title for a new stadium under construction for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL) in Minneapolis. Located on the site of their former home, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Downtown East, the stadium will be their third permanent home.[10]

It will be the first new fixed roof stadium in the NFL since Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, opened in 2002. As of August 2014, the overall budget is estimated to be $1.024 billion, of which $348 million is coming from the state of Minnesota, $150 million from the city of Minneapolis, and $526 million coming from the team and private contributions.[3]

Vikings Stadium is scheduled to host Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018.[11]

Design[edit]

The new stadium is a fixed roof stadium with a translucent roof and movable front windows. The translucent roof and windows allow natural light to enter the stadium, as well as giving fans a view of downtown Minneapolis. The roof is slanted for easier snow removal as it allows snow to accumulate in areas that are more safely and easily accessible. The movable windows will allow the stadium to experience some of the outdoor elements while providing protection from the snow, rain, and the cold winter weather. While the Vikings' owners wanted an outdoor stadium, the government would have only provided funding for an indoor stadium that is able to host major events like the Super Bowl and the Final Four, and a retractable roof would have been too expensive.[12]

The stadium will seat approximately 65,000 people for most games, roughly the same as the Metrodome. However, it will be expandable to 73,000 for special events such as the Super Bowl.[1]

Metrodome lease[edit]

The Vikings' lease with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), as signed by both parties in August 1979, kept them in the Metrodome until 2011.[13] The lease was considered one of the least lucrative among NFL teams; it included provisions where the commission owned the stadium, and the Vikings were locked into paying rent until the end of the 2011 season. For several years prior to the Metrodome's demolition, however, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission waived the team's nearly $4 million rent.[14] The Vikings paid the MSFC 9.5 percent of their ticket sales; the commission "reserve[d] all rights to sell or lease advertising in any part of the Stadium," the team could not use the scoreboard for any ads, and the team did not control naming rights for the building. Additionally, the commission controlled the limited parking and its revenue and paid the team 10 percent of all concession sales while retaining roughly 35 percent of concessions sold during Vikings games.[15] The Vikings were 30th out of 32 NFL teams in local revenues in 2005.[15] The Vikings, as well as the stadium's other tenants, continually turned down any proposals for renovating the Metrodome itself.[15] A plan for a joint Vikings/University of Minnesota football stadium was proposed in 2002, but differences over how the stadium would be designed and run, as well as state budget constraints, led to the plan's failure.[16] The university would eventually open its own TCF Bank Stadium in 2009.

Downtown Minneapolis[edit]

From the outset, Zygi Wilf, a billionaire from New Jersey and principal owner of the Vikings since 2005,[17] had stated he was interested in redeveloping the downtown site of the Metrodome no matter where the new facility was built.[15] Taking into consideration downtown Minneapolis' growing mass transit network, cultural institutions, and growing condo and office markets, Wilf considered underdeveloped areas on Downtown's east side, centered on the Metrodome, to be a key opportunity and began discussing the matter with neighboring landholders, primarily the City of Minneapolis and the Star Tribune.[15] An unrelated 2008 study explains that the effect of the media, in this case an uncritical Star Tribune, matters a great deal in helping a stadium initiative.[18] As a result, once negotiations for a different location had been put aside, the Vikings focused on proposing a stadium that would be the centerpiece of a larger urban redevelopment project.[15]

Wilf's Vikings began acquiring significant land holdings in the Downtown East neighborhood around the Metrodome. In June 2007, the Vikings acquired four blocks of mostly empty land surrounding the Star Tribune headquarters from Avista Capital Partners (the private equity owner of the Star Tribune) for $45 million; it is also believed the Vikings have first right of refusal to later buy the paper's headquarters building.[19] In May 2007, the Vikings also acquired three other downtown parking lots for a total of $5 million, and have made a bid for a city-owned, underground parking ramp next to the neighborhood's light rail station.[19]

Proposal timeline[edit]

2007[edit]

On April 19, 2007, the MSFC and the Vikings unveiled their initial plans for the stadium and surrounding urban area, with an estimated opening of 2012.[20] The plan included substantial improvements to the surrounding area, including an improved light rail stop, 4,500 residential units, hotels with a combined 270 rooms, 1,700,000 square feet (160,000 m2) of office space and substantial retail space.[20]

As of 2007, the stadium would have held approximately 73,600 people and was to have been complete by August 2011. The initial proposal did not have the final architectural design renderings, but did include key features that were to have been included in any final plan, including the plans for neighboring urban development. These included demands for a retractable roof, an open view of the surroundings (particularly the downtown skyline), a glass-enclosed Winter Garden alongside the already-existing adjacent Metrodome light-rail stop, leafy urban square with outdoor cafés and dense housing around its edges, aesthetic improvements to roads connecting the stadium to nearby cultural institutions, and adaptive reuse of neighboring historic buildings.[21] The roof would have allowed Minneapolis to remain a potential venue for the Super Bowl and Final Four, both of which had been held at the Metrodome. The proposed urban plan itself was received with cautious welcome.[22]

The 2007 proposed cost estimate for the downtown Minneapolis stadium was $953,916,000.[23] The total broke down to $616,564,000 for the stadium, $200,729,000 for a retractable roof, $58,130,000 for parking, $8,892,000 for adjacent land right-of-way, and $69,601,000 to take into account inflation by 2010.[23] The estimate compared to then-upcoming stadiums in Indianapolis at $675 million (retractable roof, completed 2008), Dallas at $932 million (retractable roof, completed 2009), and New York at $1.7 billion (open-air, completed in 2010).[23] In addition, according to Wilf, taking into account the costs for the surrounding urban developments put forth in the proposal would have brought the estimated total to $2 billion.[19] The estimated costs were based on projected 2008 construction and material costs, so it would have been possible that the stadium costs could have hovered near $1 billion if the Minnesota State Legislature had not approved the project in the 2008 session.[24][dated info]

No proposals were made, at that time, for paying for the stadium.[20] The MSFC and Vikings made initial pitches to the Minnesota State Legislature during the end of the 2007 session, but expected to make serious efforts during the 2008 legislative session.[25] The Vikings proposed creating a Minnesota Football Stadium Task Force, which they expect would take 24 months to plan the stadium.[25]

2008[edit]

Following the September 2008 MSFC vote to start feasibility studies for re-using the Metrodome, an unrelated study released for 38 U.S. cities[26] found that "when a [NFL] team wins, people's moods improve,"[27] and that personal income for residents of a city with an NFL team with 10 wins increases about $165 per year.[27] While true for NFL football, for comparison, professional baseball and basketball gain no personal income for residents.[27]

2009[edit]

Feasibility studies for Dallas-based design and local construction of a new stadium were expected in early 2009.[28] Roy Terwilliger, a former Republican state senator from Edina, Ray Waldron, an AFL-CIO leader, and the Dome engineering expert and CEO, Bill Lester and Steve Maki of the MSFC selected architectural firm HKS of Dallas and construction manager Mortenson of Minnesota over the objections of Paul Thatcher and Timothy Rose of Minneapolis-St. Paul, who preferred Ellerbe Beckett and Kraus-Anderson, both of Minnesota. Loanne Thrane of St. Paul, the sole female member of the commission, voiced opposition and later voted with the majority.[29]

In December 2009, commission chairman Terwilliger said, "We know what the art of the possible is at this particular location." A new proposal for 65,000 seats with a sliding roof was unveiled at US$84 million less than the previous proposal, but with US$50 million per year more scheduled for each year that construction is delayed.[30] Vikings officials boycotted the presentation which estimated the total cost at US$870 million, or US$770 million if the sliding roof were omitted.[30]

2010[edit]

The 2010 Vikings stadium proposal was dealt a setback on May 5, 2010, when a Minnesota House panel defeated the proposal by a 10–9 vote.

The stadium debate was revived in the aftermath of the Metrodome's roof deflation on December 12, 2010, which forced the relocation of the Vikings' final two home games of the 2010 season and led to more calls for a new stadium from various sources in the local and national media.[31][32] Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton discussed the matter with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but said "any new stadium must first benefit the people of Minnesota".[33]

2011[edit]

City of Minneapolis Proposal[edit]

After Hennepin County stopped their pursuit of a Vikings stadium,[34] the city of Minneapolis submitted a plan for a Vikings' stadium at the downtown Metrodome site. The Minneapolis plan was for a fixed-roof stadium costing an estimated $895 million. The proposal also included funding solutions for $95 million in renovations to the Minnesota Timberwolves' Target Center. The team reacted with skepticism to the proposal and did not want to play at nearby 50,000-seat capacity University of Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium during three years of construction.[35] Because the Minneapolis dome site is a cheaper option, football fans were expected to return to the Minneapolis plan if the shortfall in the Ramsey County plan were not realized.[36]

Ramsey County Proposal[edit]

In May 2011, Ramsey County officials announced they had reached an agreement with the Minnesota Vikings to be the team’s local partner for a new stadium, subject to approval by the Minnesota Legislature and to approval of a sales tax by the Ramsey County Board.[37] The site of the stadium would be the former Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant in Arden Hills, which is about 10 miles from the Metrodome in Minneapolis and is a Superfund clean up site. The agreement called for an $884 million stadium and an additional $173 million for on-site infrastructure, parking and environmental costs.[38]

Ramsey County said the Vikings would commit $407 million to the project, which would have been about 44 percent of the stadium cost and 39 percent of the overall cost. The county's cost would have been $350 million, to be financed by a half-cent sales tax increase.[38] The state of Minnesota's cost would have been $300 million.[37] This totalled about $1.057 billion, leaving at least a $131 million shortfall.[36] Minnesota Vikings and the State of Minnesota agreed the total of fixing roads would have been $131 million.[39]

2012[edit]

On March 1, 2012, Governor Dayton announced an agreement for a new stadium to be built on the site of the Metrodome, pending approval by the state legislature and the Minneapolis city council.[40] The $975 million project, half of which would be publicly funded, would be patterned after Lucas Oil Stadium. It would utilize part of the footprint of the Metrodome and would only require the Vikings to play at TCF Bank Stadium during the final year of construction.[41] The agreement met with mixed reaction, and some criticized the proposal as being unfair to taxpayers and a giveaway to team owners.[42]

On May 10, 2012, the Minnesota Legislature approved funding for a new Vikings stadium on that site. The project is projected to have a $975 million price tag, with the Vikings covering $477 million, the state covering $348 million, and $150 million covered by a hospitality tax in Minneapolis. The city of Minneapolis must pay a total of $678 million over the thirty-year life of the deal, including interest, operations, and construction costs.[43] The bill was signed by Gov. Dayton[44] and received the approval of the Minneapolis City Council on May 25, 2012.[45][46] The Vikings played in the Metrodome through the 2013 season, as construction did not require the dome's immediate demolition. The Vikings then moved to TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus until the new stadium is complete.

2013[edit]

On May 13, 2013, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), the Minnesota Vikings, and HKS Sports & Entertainment Group together unveiled the new stadium's design.

2014[edit]

In January 2014, a lawsuit was brought forward by former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Doug Mann and two others to block the construction of the new stadium. The suit questioned the constitutionality of the stadium's funding plan and delayed a $468 million bond sale. Officials warned the delay could stall the project's timeline and add costs.[47] The lawsuit was later dismissed by the Minnesota Supreme Court.[48]

Charitable gambling funding shortfall[edit]

The State of Minnesota's portion of the cost of the stadium was to be funded by revenue from a proposed new charitable gambling source, which was dubbed electronic pulltabs. When the stadium funding bill was passed in the legislature and signed by the governor on May 14, 2012, the new revenue from the games was estimated to be $34 million for 2013, and rising each year thereafter.

November 2012 revenue forecast[edit]

Six months later, the first budget estimate from the Minnesota Office of Management and Budget was released, revising the projected revenue from the electronic pulltab games. This first revision cut the estimated revenue from the game for 2013 by 51%, to $16 million (versus the legislation's estimate of $34 million).

From page 15 of the Minnesota Management and Budget Complete Forecast, November 2012: "For FY 2013, the projected reserve balance has been reduced from $34 to $16 million. Projected new gambling revenues from stadium legislation are expected to be $18 million (51 percent) below end of session estimates." "The forecast reduction reflects a slower than expected implementation of electronic gaming options and reduced estimates for daily revenue per gaming device."[49]

February 2013 revenue forecast[edit]

In March 2013, the Minnesota Office of Management and Budget released another updated budget forecast for fiscal years 2013 to 2017. Included in this forecast was another revision in the projected revenue from charitable gambling sources, from the previous estimate of $16 million, down to $1.7 million, a further 90% reduction in the estimate for 2013 revenue. This total a 95% reduction from what was estimated in the stadium bill passed in May 2012.

From page 12 of the Minnesota Management and Budget Complete Forecast, February 2013: "The forecast for lawful gambling revenue has been reduced $15 million in FY 2013 and $46 million in FY 2014–15. Slower than expected implementation of electronic gambling options and a reduction in estimates for daily revenue per gambling location were the reasons for the revenue reduction".[50]

Political fallout from projected shortfall[edit]

As a result of the projected shortfall, members of the Minnesota Legislature and the Governor's office began discussing ideas to fix the shortfall.[51] The legislature decided to impose an inventory tax on cigarettes to make up for any shortfall over the next year of construction and closing of a corporate income-tax loophole for the following years.[52]

Construction[edit]

Media related to Construction of Vikings Stadium at Wikimedia Commons

In August 2012, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA)—the stadium's newly created owner—received bids and plans from five architectural and engineering firms, all nationally-recognized stadium designers, including Populous, AECOM, EwingCole, and HNTB.[53][54] On September 28, 2012, the MSFA selected the Dallas firm of HKS, Inc., which had designed both AT&T Stadium and Lucas Oil Stadium within the previous decade, to serve as the project's architect.[55] HKS also designed Globe Life Park in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers; the Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and renovations to the Chicago White Sox’s U.S. Cellular Field. Initial design plans were not immediately released to the public, but Viking officials said they hoped the budget would allow the new stadium to include a retractable roof, walls, or windows. The design team also planned to incorporate interactive technology into some elements to create a more engaging fan experience.[56]

Construction of the facility was originally slated to begin in October 2013, but was delayed until December 3, 2013, as an ongoing investigation of the Wilfs' finances continued to take place after a 21-year lawsuit against them came to a conclusion in late August.

Demolition of the old stadium required removal of 4,910 truckloads of rubble. By completion of the new stadium, approximately 7,500 people will have worked on-site.[57]

Potential soccer-friendly modifications[edit]

There has been discussion about making the stadium soccer-friendly, conforming to FIFA standards and recommendations, thereby making the field slightly larger to accommodate United States Men's National Soccer Team matches, international friendlies from large European soccer clubs, and soccer tournaments (regional or international), as well as even attracting a Major League Soccer (MLS) team. Those reports have mentioned Minnesota's current NASL team, Minnesota United FC, playing at the site either as part of the NASL (minor league), or with promotion to MLS. If designed properly and a financial fit, it could match CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders FC of MLS. This would provide the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area with another sports team and MLS with a presence in the upper Midwest outside of the Chicago Fire, and another tenant for year-round activity at the stadium. The soccer field will be 121 x 72 yards.[58][59]

Super Bowl LII[edit]

On May 20, 2014, the NFL awarded Minneapolis the 2018 Super Bowl. Indianapolis and New Orleans had also made bids for the game.[11]

References[edit]

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  44. ^ 2012 Minn. Laws Ch. 299
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External links[edit]

Preceded by
TCF Bank Stadium
Home of the
Minnesota Vikings

2016
Succeeded by
future
Preceded by
NRG Stadium
Host of
Super Bowl LII

2018
Succeeded by
TBD