Vikings Stadium
The Vikings Stadium is the working title of a proposed but unbuilt stadium for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. An alternate title is Metrodome Next. It would be the franchise's third, replacing their current domed stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.


Current Metrodome lease
The Vikings' current lease with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), as signed by both parties in August 1979, keeps them in the Metrodome until 2011. The lease is considered one of the least lucrative among NFL teams, it includes provisions where the commission owns the stadium, and the Vikings are locked into paying rent until the end of the 2011 season. For the past 9 seasons, however, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission has been waiving the team's nearly $4 million rent. The Vikings pay the MSFC 9.5 percent of its ticket sales; the commission "reserves all rights to sell or lease advertising in any part of the Stadium" and the team cannot use the scoreboard for any ads and does not control naming rights for the building; the commission controls the limited parking and its revenue; and the commission pays the team 10 percent of all concession sales, which in 2004 and 2005, amounted to just over half a million for the team each year while the MSFC takes roughly 35 percent of concessions sold during Vikings games. The Vikings were 30th out of 32 NFL teams in local revenues in 2005. The Vikings, as well as the stadium's other tenants, have continually turned down any proposals for renovating the Metrodome itself. A plan for a joint Vikings/ University of Minnesota football stadium was proposed in 2002, but differences over how the stadium would be designed and run, as well as state budget constraints, led to the plan's failure.

Downtown Minneapolis
From the outset, Zygi Wilf, the New Jersey billionaire and principal beneficiary of the publicly funded project, had stated he was interested in redeveloping the downtown site of the Metrodome no matter where the new facility was built. Taking into consideration downtown Minneapolis' growing mass transit network, cultural institutions, and growing condo and office markets, Wilf considered underdeveloped areas on the Downtown's east side, centered on the Metrodome, to be a key opportunity and began discussing the matter with neighboring landholders, primarily the City of Minneapolis and the Star Tribune . An unrelated 2008 study explains that the effect of the media, in this case an uncritical Star Tribune, matters a great deal in helping a stadium initiative. As a result, once the negotiations for the Anoka County location had been put aside, the Vikings focused on proposing a stadium that would be the centerpiece of a larger urban redevelopment project. On April 19, 2007, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and Vikings unveiled their initial plans for the stadium and surrounding urban area, with an estimated opening of 2012. The plan included substantial improvements to the surrounding area, including an improved light rail stop, 4,500 residential units, hotels with a combined 270 rooms, 1,700,000 square feet (158,000 m 2) of office space and substantial retail space. Wilf's Vikings began acquiring significant land holdings in the Downtown East neighborhood around the Metrodome in June 2007, the Vikings acquired four blocks of mostly empty land surrounding the Star Tribune headquarters from Avista Capital Partners (the private equity owner of the Star Tribune) for $45 million; it is also believed the Vikings have first right of refusal to later buy the paper's headquarters building. In May 2007, the Vikings also acquired three other downtown parking lots for a total of $5 million, and have made a bid for a city-owned, underground parking ramp next to the neighborhood's light rail station. Feasibility studies for Dallas, Texas-based design and local construction of a new stadium are expected in early 2009. Roy Terwilliger, who is a former Republican state senator from Edina, Ray Waldron, an AFL-CIO leader, and the Dome engineering expert and CEO, Bill Lester and Steve Maki, of the Sports Facilities Commission selected architectural firm HKS of Dallas and construction manager Mortenson of Minnesota over the objections of Paul Thatcher and Timothy Rose of Minneapolis-St. Paul, who preferred Ellerbe Beckett and Kraus-Anderson, both of Minnesota. Loanne Thrane of Saint Paul, the sole female member of the commission, voiced opposition and later voted with the majority. 2007 As of 2007, the stadium would hold approximately 73,600 people and is expected to be complete by August 2011. The initial proposal did not have the final architectural design renderings, but did include key features that are to be included in any final plan, including the plans for neighboring urban development. These include demands for a retractable roof, an open view of the surroundings (particularly the downtown skyline), a glass-enclosed Winter Garden alongside the already-existing adjacent Metrodome light-rail stop, leafy urban square with outdoor cafés and dense housing around its edges, aesthetic improvements to roads connecting the stadium to nearby cultural institutions, and adaptive reuse of neighboring historic buildings. The roof would allow Minneapolis to remain a potential venue for the Super Bowl and Final Four, both of which have been held at the Metrodome. The proposed urban plan itself was received with cautious welcome. The 2007 proposed cost estimate for the downtown Minneapolis stadium was $953,916,000. The total breaks down to $616,564,000 for the stadium, $200,729,000 for a retractable roof, $58,130,000 for parking, $8,892,000 for adjacent land right-of-way, and $69,601,000 to take into account inflation by 2010. The estimate compares to upcoming stadiums in Indianapolis at $675 million (retractable roof, completed 2008), Dallas at $932 million (retractable roof, completed 2009) and New York at $1.7 billion (open-air, completed in 2010). In addition, according to Wilf, taking into account the costs for the surrounding urban developments put forth in the proposal would bring the estimated total to $2 billion. The estimated costs were based on projected 2008 construction and material costs, so it is possible that the stadium costs could hover near $1 billion if the Minnesota State Legislature does not approve the project in the 2008 session. 2009 In December 2009, commission chairman Terwilliger said, "We know what the art of the possible is at this particular location." A new proposal for 65,000 seats with a sliding roof was unveiled at US$84 million less than the previous proposal, but with US$50 million per year more scheduled for each year that construction is delayed. Vikings officials boycotted the presentation which estimated the total cost at US$870 million, or US$770 million if the sliding roof is omitted. 2010 The most recent Vikings stadium proposal was dealt a setback on May 5, 2010, when a Minnesota State House panel defeated the proposal by a 10-9 vote. The new stadium debate was revived in the aftermath of the Metrodome's roof deflation on December 12, 2010; which forced the relocation of the Vikings' final two home games of the 2010 season and led to more calls for a new stadium from various sources in the local and national media. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton plans to discuss the matter with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but says "any new stadium must first benefit the people of Minnesota". Cost No proposals have been made, as of now, to how it would be paid for. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and Vikings made initial pitches to the Minnesota State Legislature during the end of the 2007 session, however they expect to make a serious effort during the 2008 legislative session. The Vikings proposed creating a Minnesota Football Stadium Task Force, which they expect would take 24 months to plan the stadium. Following the September 2008 Sports Facilities Commission vote to start feasibility studies for re-using the Metrodome, an unrelated study released for 38 U.S. cities found that "when a team wins, people's moods improve," and that personal income for residents of a city with an NFL team with 10 wins increases about USD $165 per year. While true for NFL football, for comparison, professional baseball and basketball gain no personal income for residents.


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