New Vikings stadium clears big hurdle

9:00 PM, Oct 24, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - A deal has been struck to buy land next to the new Vikings stadium site. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority or MSFA announced it will buy the land near the Metrodome, which is owned by Minneapolis Venture, for $17 million.

The site is where the Downtown East light rail station is located, along with hundreds of coveted underground parking spaces steps from the dome.

The deal will stop a lawsuit that Minneapolis Venture filed in Hennepin County claiming the negations with MSFA were "unproductive".

 "I think it will be good to have a public body to own and control that space so to make sure it will always be available for the public," said Michele Kelm-Helgen, MSFA's chair.

Minneapolis Venture spokesperson Jon Austin tells KARE 11 "all parties are pleased with the agreement."

MSFA and the Minnesota Vikings also announced additional details about the new Vikings stadium at a legislative hearing at the State Capitol Thursday.

Tickets described as affordable would be available to 3200 fans each home game for about $40 a ticket, according the Lester Bagley, Vikings V.P of Public Affairs.

Bagley said the team is still working on a way so third party organizations cannot buy up a bulk of those tickets and sell them for more than the listed price.

Also, officials say representatives from college football's BCS will be in town Sunday for the Vikings-Packers game. They are scouting for future championship games.

Stadium tours could also bring in millions of dollars that would go directly to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

"In Dallas they have 400,000 visitors. They pay $20 a tour, that would be $8 million in rent," said Kelm-Helgen. "If we get a quarter of that or 20 percent that is a significant amount of revenue. That will come to the authority."

She also assured legislators they are on budget, despite some media reports.

"Right now we're on budget and on schedule and that's where we plan to stay," she said of the $975 million stadium budget.

Street and Smith's Sports Business Daily reported the company building the stadium, Mortenson Construction, could be $45 million over budget.

A spokesperson for MSFA said that number was news to them because Mortenson hasn't even given MSFA their Guaranteed Maximum Price. That number is expected sometime next week, according to Kelm-Helgen.

"Once Mortenson gives us that guaranteed maximum price they are basically guaranteeing that they will build it for that price," she said.

Mortenson would be responsible for covering any costs above that number. There are also contingency funds in place to make up for any cost overruns, including $25 million from Mortenson and $37 million from MSFA.

If that money goes unused, MSFA told legislators it can be used to put certain aspects of the stadium design back into the project that were previously cut.

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