Plan Gives Women, Minority Cos. 20% of Stadium Construction

Plan Gives Women, Minority Cos. 20% of Stadium Construction

A plan from The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority calls for 11 percent of Vikings stadium construction contracts to go to women-owned firms and 9 percent to minority-owned businesses; only work by Minnesota companies will count toward the goal.

The group overseeing construction of a new $975 million Vikings stadium approved a plan that calls for one-fifth of construction contracts to go to Minnesota-based businesses that are women- and minority-owned.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), which will own and operate the new stadium, on Friday outlined a plan that is meant to involve a substantial number of women, minorities, and veterans in the stadium construction process.

The plan calls for 11 percent of the contracts to go to women-owned firms and 9 percent to minority-owned businesses—and only work performed by Minnesota-based companies will count toward that goal.

The total construction cost is estimated to be around $690 million, the majority of the overall stadium budget, meaning the construction contracts expected to go to women- and minority-owned businesses will together total about $130 million, MSFA Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen told Twin Cities Business on Monday. (Other costs include design contracts and some external plaza construction, among other things.)

The MSFA also set a “work force goal,” which calls for 32 percent of all hours worked on the stadium project to be performed by minority workers and 6 percent to be performed by women.

In addition, the plan includes “an outreach strategy” aimed at awarding contracts to Minnesota-based veteran-owned businesses and recruiting and training veterans to be included in the construction work force, the MSFA said. No specific benchmark was given for the number of veterans to be hired, but the outreach involves working with business support organizations to increase awareness of the project among veterans, among other things.

“These goals are going to be tough; they’re no doubt a challenge,” Kelm-Helgen said. “They’re definitely achievable, but it will take a lot of work and focus.”

The MSFA’s hiring goals were announced one day after the association confirmed that two companies remain in the running for the contract to oversee the stadium’s construction: Golden Valley-based Mortenson Construction is one; its competitor, Scottsdale, Arizona-based Hunt Construction, is the other—and it has ramped up efforts to win the contract by partnering with Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson Construction Company.

Hunt has built a dozen NFL stadiums, including two with retractable roofs. Meanwhile, Mortenson’s portfolio includes Target Field and the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, and the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, among other sports venues.

The MSFA’s plan essentially provides guidelines for the construction manager when hiring subcontractors. Kelm-Helgen said that one reason she believes the goals are obtainable is that HKS, Inc., a Dallas-based architectural and engineering firm that is designing the Vikings stadium, has met similar benchmarks. The MSFA said last month that 18 Minnesota-based subcontractors were hired to support HKS, most of which represent women- and minority-owned businesses.

If, however, the construction manager does not demonstrate that it is using “good faith efforts” to achieve the goals provided by the MSFA, it will be subject to financial penalties. The MSFA said it will work with the City of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, and the Minnesota Department of Administration to assist the companies involved in the project with meeting the employment goals and reporting progress.

The MSFA hopes to select the stadium’s construction manager by the end of this week, according to Kelm-Helgen. Groundbreaking for the stadium is expected to take place in October, and the Vikings hope to begin playing in the stadium by the 2016 season.