Vikings, Ramsey County Reveal $1B Stadium Deal
Minnesota Vikings officials and Ramsey County leaders on Tuesday announced that they have struck a deal to build a new $844 million stadium in Arden Hills at the former Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant site.
Including $173 million in infrastructure upgrades to the 260-acre site, Ramsey County officials said that the project's total price tag would be about $1 billion.
Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett opened a press conference by proclaiming, “It's football season in Arden Hills.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the Vikings will contribute $407 million-or 39 percent of the total cost. Ramsey County would pitch in $350 million, leaving the state to pick up the remaining $300 million. Media reports indicate that Governor Mark Dayton has said that the state would not contribute more than $300 million. The team and county representatives said that they are working with legislators and the Minnesota Department of Transportation to identify off-site road improvements-which have previously been described as the key obstacle to the Arden Hills plan and could reportedly cost more than $175 million.
Bennett, who described the northern suburb as the “gateway to Minnesota tourism,” acknowledged the hurdles that need to be cleared-namely, the expensive highway and infrastructure rehabilitation to accommodate the traffic associated with a professional sports stadium. But he also stressed the need for these upgrades-with or without the Vikings stadium-suggesting that the cost shouldn't be too tall a barrier. “I think it can be worked out,” he said.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, joined by his brother Mark Wilf, repeatedly stated that the team was attracted to the Arden Hills site because it accommodates tailgating. “We're going to bring back the old traditions of tailgating” and provide a “full-day experience,” he said, adding that ancillary developments such as a Vikings hall of fame could be added later on.
Plans for the 65,000-seat stadium include a retractable roof and 21,000 parking spaces. The team said that the stadium project is expected to support 13,000 full- and part-time jobs, including 7,500 construction jobs during a three-year building period.
The team's owner said that he “appreciated” the City of Minneapolis' proposal for a new stadium at the Metrodome site, but the Arden Hills site is “ideal for the team” and creates a “Vikings destination.”
Wilf said that opting for the Arden Hills site will allow the team to continue playing at the Metrodome until it makes its move.
The team plans to pursue corporate naming rights for the stadium and other ancillary facilities, but it hasn't yet engaged in discussions with potential partners.
Wilf also said that the stadium would host other events-much like the Metrodome currently does-including high school and college sports. Further, he hopes the stadium would attract Major League Soccer.
Under the agreement, the Vikings would lease the stadium from a “sports authority” similar to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which currently operates the Metrodome. The Vikings would commit to a 30-year lease.