MPR News Primer: Vikings stadiumby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
What's the latest on the new stadium for the Vikings?
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has signed a contract with Dallas-based HKS for design services for the new stadium. The company beat out four other competitors in a selection process that concluded Sept. 28. The company offered two alternatives to the retractable roof that has been a key point of discussion for the new building. State officials say they plan to have a "listening tour" to hear out Minnesotans on the stadium in November. The Vikings and the architectural firm hope to unveil a design in January or Feburary.
When will building start?
Current projections call for a groundbreaking in the second half of 2013. The project is expected to start with some utility work in downtown Minneapolis, including the relocation of an underground power line near the area. The plan calls for construction to begin in the parking lot east of the Metrodome, approach the existing stadium as play continues there. The Metrodome will then be deflated and demolished to accommodate the completion of its replacement. The project is expected to employ 13,000 people, including 7,500 construction jobs during the life of the project.
When will the new stadium open?
The Vikings expect to play part, if not most, of their 2016 season in the new stadium. The current schedule calls for them to play through the end of the 2014 season in the Metrodome and play the 2015 season at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium. The team would like to open the 2016 season at the new stadium, but it's unclear if construction can be finished in time.
What will the stadium look like?
The Vikings have expressed a preference for a retractable roof, and at least one rendering submitted during the architectural bidding process has a retractable wall as well. The stadium is expected to include some of the features of Lucas Oil Stadium, but it's unclear what the exterior finish will ultimately look like. The agreement between the state and the Vikings calls for a 65,000 seat stadium, with room for up to 72,000 for events like a Super Bowl. There will be 150 suites and 7,000 club seats, according to the stadium authority's website. The stadium authority and the Vikings are expected to pick an architect and design by consensus.
What will the stadium cost?
Projections now call for the project to cost $975 million. About $822 million of that is expected to be the actual cost of construction. The rest will involve land acquisition, administrative expenses and other costs. The legislation authorizing the project calls for a guaranteed maximum price contract for the construction, intended to cap cost overruns.
Who's paying for the stadium?
The Vikings, the state and the city of Minneapolis are sharing the up-front cost. Here's how it will break down:
• The Vikings have agreed to contribute $477 million to the construction -- $50 million more than their initial offer, as demanded on the day the legislation was finalized. The team is widely expected to fund part of that with a $200 million league loan, to be paid from the "visiting team share" that the Vikings currently do not capture. The Vikings are also expected to sell personal seat licenses to ticket holders. Vikings Chief Financial Officer Steve Poppen told a Minnesota Senate panel in 2011 that teams in similar situations raise an average of $50 million through PSLs.
• The State of Minnesota has pledged $348 million in bonding* to the project's construction. To fund bonding for that amount, lawmakers legalized electronic pull tabs, a variation on the charitable gambling games first legalized in Minnesota in 1985. The games are expected to do about $2.3 billion of business annually and began operation on Sept. 18, 2012. Taxes on those sales are expected to raise about $72 million a year for the state, with bond payments projected to start around $33 million for the first decade, falling to around $10 million annually for the the third and final decade. The state has designated "blink on" funding to back up the pull tab taxes if the expected revenue isn't generated. The backups include a sports-themed lottery game, and a suite tax.
• The City of Minneapolis has pledged $150 million up front for construction, to be paid for mostly with existing hotel, liquor and food taxes downtown, as well as a citywide half-cent sales tax. That money currently funds Convention Center debt and other activities, but those bonds should be paid off by 2020.
*Minnesota is actually expected to borrow $498 million, for both its share and the city of Minneapolis' share.
Who owns the new stadium?
While the state, the Vikings and the city of Minneapolis share the cost, the state of Minnesota is the sole owner of the facility. Minneapolis may develop public spaces adjacent to the property and would own those parcels.
Who's going to pay to run the stadium?
Operating costs are expected to run $20.5 million per year. The Vikings will be responsible for $13 million of that annually, with $8.5 million earmarked as rent. The city of Minneapolis is to pick up $7.5 million annually, indexed to inflation as the costs rise over time.
What's the stadium going to be used for?
Its principal economic mechanism will be Vikings games, including two preseason and eight regular season home games every year. The Vikings have exclusive rights to bring a Major League Soccer team into the stadium for the first five years. Major League Soccer teams have a 34-game regular season schedule. Other events are expected to include a Monster Truck Jam tour stop, Supercross motorcycle racing and Minnesota State High School League soccer and football championships. Minneapolis officials have expressed interest in hosting another national political convention, like the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. The Vikings have also told the league that they intend to host a Super Bowl after the stadium opens, possibly as early as 2018. League owners have exclusive authority over Super Bowl locations, and Minnesota hosted one in 1992. The League is widely expected to award the game to new stadiums, to encourage host cities to build them.
Who's in charge?
The construction and operation of the new stadium will be overseen by the 5-member Minnesota Sports Facilties Authority. Two members and the chair are appointed by the governor. The initial members, appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton, include one of his senior staff, Michele Kelm-Helgen, as chairwoman. Former legislator and NFL player Duane Benson and Target real estate executive John Griffin rounded out Dayton's appointees. Capella University executive Barbara Butts Williams, widow of another NFL player, and Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation president Bill McCarthy were selected by Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak.
The city of Minneapolis has also appointed a Stadium Implementation Committee to advise the MSFA on city related aspects of the project. They include:
Russ Adams -- Executive director, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
Hussein Ahmed -- Executive director, West Bank Community Coalition
Tim Baylor -- Developer, outgoing member of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission
Judith Yates Borger -- Downtown East resident
Rolf Engh -- Vice president and general counsel, Valspar
Chris Ferguson -- Dairy Queen owner; member, Central Corridor's Corridors of Opportunity Committee
David Fields -- Community development coordinator, Elliot Park Neighborhood Association
Sarah Harris -- Fomer Downtown Improvement District executive director
Clint Hewitt -- Retired landscape architect, former University of Minnesota planner
Peggy Lucas -- Developer, outgoing member of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission
Wade Luneburg -- Secretary treasurer, UNITE-HERE Local 17
Peter McLaughlin -- Hennepin County commissioner
Cory Merrifield -- Founder, Save the Vikes
Tom Meyer -- Architect, Downtown East resident
Cathy Rydell -- Executive director, American Academy of Neurology
D. Craig Taylor -- Executive director, U of M Office of Business & Community Development
What about the Target Center?
The authorizing legislation allows Minneapolis to use some of its tax proceeds -- those not necessary to run the Convention Center or stadium bonds -- to fund about $100 million of a $150 million upgrade to Target Center. The balance is expected to be paid for by the building's principal occupants, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, as well as AEG, the management company contracted to run the city-owned facility.
Where can I find the fine print?
The complete, 88-page bill, known as HF 2958 in the 2012 Legislative Session, is available here.
Who voted for and against this deal?
The key floor vote in the Minnesota House came on May 7, as 40 DFLers and 33 Republicans voted to approve the deal. There were 58 votes against. The roll call for the 80-50 vote on final passage in the Minnesota House is here.
The roll call for the 38-28 vote on final passage of the in the Minnesota Senate is here. The yes votes included 22 DFLers and 16 Republicans. No votes included 8 DFLers and 20 Republicans.