Stadium Deal Reached: MN to Pay $398M; Mpls, $150M

Under a just-unveiled plan for "a new people's stadium" on the Metrodome site, the Vikings would pay for close to half of the building cost and $13 million of the $20.5 million in annual operating costs.

Governor Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, and Vikings representatives on Thursday unveiled a plan to build “a new people's stadium” on the current Metrodome site.

Under the plan, the $975 million stadium would open in 2016. The Vikings would pay $427 million, or close to half, of the building cost, while the state would contribute $398 million and the City of Minneapolis would pitch in $150 million.

Of the $20.5 million in annual operating expenses and capital improvements, the Vikings would cover $13 million and the city would pay $7.5 million.

The deal, which is pending legislative and City of Minneapolis approval, calls for no state general fund revenues to be used and would impose no new taxes in Minneapolis. A stadium bill will be introduced at the Legislature on Monday, according to a news release from Dayton's office, and the governor is urging both legislators and Minneapolis officials to “vote their approval as soon as possible.”

According to the Star Tribune, backers of the plan said they would immediately begin wooing lawmakers-many of whom previously said they'd need to see a plan before giving any indication about how they might vote.

The new stadium would be built on the Metrodome's current footprint, but the plan calls for a plaza on its west side and tailgate space to be added in. It would be owned by a new stadium authority comprising three members appointed by Dayton and two appointed by the City of Minneapolis. The Vikings would be required to commit to a 30-year lease in the new facility.

“This agreement results from countless hours of analyses, discussions, and negotiations, and I thank everyone involved for an extraordinary effort,” Dayton said in a statement. “The project would provide up to 8,000 construction jobs and an additional 5,000 jobs among suppliers during its three years of construction, employ many more through its ongoing operations, and keep the Minnesota Vikings here for the next 30 years-all without using a single dollar of general fund tax revenues.”

Metropolitan Sports Facility Commission Chair Ted Mondale said that the construction plans would enable the Vikings to continue to play at the Metrodome for all but one year of construction, according to the Star Tribune. (The team would play at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus during that period.) Mondale also reportedly said that the Vikings would keep revenue related to football games, and non-football-related income would go to the authority.

Dayton's office indicated that the stadium would be available for public use 355 days a year and could host year-round events, like high school sports, community programs, and national events like Major League Soccer, NCAA Final Fours, a Super Bowl, and political conventions.

Under the plan, the state's portion of the funding would be raised through an expansion of charitable gaming-Minnesota would authorize electronic pull-tabs. According to the Star Tribune, this would allow bars and restaurants to operate hand-held gambling devices, which state officials think customers would find more appealing than traditional pull-tabs and thus would bring in more gambling proceeds. The state would reportedly sell bonds to pay for its share of the stadium and use increased gambling profits to pay them off.

Meanwhile, the $150 million that the City of Minneapolis would contribute to the building cost would come from redirecting a portion of its existing convention center sales and hospitality taxes.

According to the Star Tribune, Rybak pitched the plan as a jobs bill that would put people to work and yield great things for the city and the state. He reportedly said that the deal could still allow Minneapolis to spend some of its sales tax dollars on the Target Center.

This agreement marks the first time the Vikings have formally announced support for a stadium at the Metrodome site. The team previously negotiated a deal with Ramsey County for an Arden Hills stadium, but the plan hit a major obstacle when state legislators threatened to hold a public vote on a sales tax increase to fund the county's portion of the cost. A site near the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis has also been at the forefront of the stadium debate, although it drew heavy criticism by the nearby church.

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In late spring, legislative negotiators insisted on boosting the Vikings’ share of the stadium cost by $50 million to $477 million—just under half of the $975 total price tag. The Minnesota Legislature then voted to approve the project, for which the state will pay $348 million through taxes from an expansion of charitable gambling, and Minneapolis will pay $150 million.

In September, HKS, Inc., a Dallas-based architectural and engineering firm that designed stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts, was hired to design the Vikings stadium; it was one of five architectural and engineering firms from across the country to bid on the project.

Then in December, the groundbreaking for the stadium was tentatively set for October 2013. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority is now soliciting bids as it seeks a construction management firm that will be responsible for building the 65,000-seat stadium; proposals are due January 8, and the authority and team hope to narrow the list by January 11 and select a firm by January 25.