The Big Story Blog

Dayton sees Mpls as 'default option B' for Vikes stadium

Posted at 1:52 PM on October 18, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Politics, Sport

Arden Hills remains the Vikings main site for a new stadium. However, Gov. Mark Dayton this afternoon said a site in Minneapolis near Target Field would be a "default option B" that would cost the Vikings about $100 million less to build.

Speaking on WCCO' Radio's Chad Hartman show , Dayton reiterated that the Vikings are pushing for legislative approval of a package that would let the team build a $1.1 billion football stadium complex in Arden Hills.

That's the project the Vikings continue to say they want and they've dismissed notions of re-examining Minneapolis sites.

However, talk that the discussion will swing back to Minneapolis continues. Dayton added a little fuel to that discussion this afternoon in his interview with Hartman.

Dayton guessed that the Vikings will end up spending close to $500 million on the Arden Hills site, significantly more than the $407 million estimate team officials had been using.

If the Vikings aren't "willing to pay the additional freight" for Arden Hills, "then you've got to be willing to look" at Minneapolis, Dayton said. "I see that as default option B" and added "I could be favorably disposed" to either the Minneapolis or Arden Hills plans.

The site near Target Field includes the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Dayton estimated the total cost of a stadium there in the $800 million range, compared to $1.1 billion for Arden Hills. Sites in Minneapolis would cost the Vikings owners "in the neighborhood" of $400 million, or about $100 million less than Arden Hills, he added.

The Vikings recently acknowledged that they would have to write a check bigger than $407 million for the Arden Hills site. Dayton was the first today to guess the final cost would be "in the neighborhood" of $500 million.

As he did in an early-morning interview with MPR News, Dayton restated his willingness to look at public financing options, including a gambling option, as long as no general fund revenues are used.

The stadium idea could provide an economic boost for the region and a shot in the arm for the construction industry, he said.

Dayton is scheduled to meet with NFL officials today to talk stadiums. The governor has said he'll call a special session before Thanksgiving to get an up-or-down vote from the Legislature, but only if there's an agreed-upon deal in place.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.