Downtown East office project rendering
MINNEAPOLIS - The public authority overseeing construction of a new Minnesota Vikings stadium is warning that the opening of the stadium could be delayed if the team doesn't quickly resume negotiations on a lease and development agreements.
Minnesota Sports Facilities Association chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said during a hearing Friday that the team unexpectedly broke off negotiations this week. She says the team said it wanted to wait until a review is completed on ownerships ability to finance its share of the stadium.
Kelm-Helgen says the agreements need to be in place by Sept. 15 to avoid delays. The goal is to break ground on the taxpayer-subsidized stadium on Nov. 7 and complete it ahead of the 2016 football season.
"The schedule laid out today has construction beginning in November to meet the substantial completion date of July 2016," Kelm-Helgen said in a written statement. "To meet this aggressive timeline, it is imperative that the MSFA and the Vikings work on these two issues concurrently - negotiate the UA and the DA and complete the additional due diligence required by the recent court decision. If these negotiations do not resume until September 15th, the entire schedule will slip a month."
A spokesman for the Vikings is downplaying the MSFA's concerns, saying the team remains confident its new stadium will open on time as planned.
Lester Bagley rejected concerns Friday from the authority overseeing the project that the timetable could be jeopardized if the Vikings don't quickly finalize lease and development agreements.
Bagley says the team has provided plenty of information for due diligence, and there's no doubt the team has the ability to pay its $477 million share of the stadium.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)