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Armory: Vikings pre-game central?

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: December 7, 2011 - 11:52 AM

Minneapolis' storied Armory may have another chapter left in its long life after mayor R.T. Rybak pitched it Tuesday as a Vikings party zone to accompany a new stadium at the Metrodome site.

Located near the Star Tribune's offices on 5th Street in downtown Minneapolis, the 75-year-old historic building is a relic of Depression-era investment in public works projects.

It once housed the Minnesota National Guard. Then it was home to the Minneapolis Lakers basketball team (now in Los Angeles). Preservationists led a fight to protect it from demolition in 1993, and it has since become a parking lot.

A Star Tribune story from 2010 noted that it is the last remaining relic of Minneapolis' earlier sports teams. The other buildings that once housed them have all been torn down.

Walk inside the Armory today, and you will find a massive hollowed-out room featuring rows of concrete seats embedded in risers along the walls.

What was once center-court is now a parking lot used by commuters and occasionally Vikings fans on game days. Even more cars are packed together downstairs.

The building has its own place in pop culture history as well. Prince used the space to film the music video to the song "1999." Aerosmith used it to shoot "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing."

It is currently owned by Armory Development II LLC, and parking is managed by Interstate Parking LLC. Armory Development bought it from Hennepin County for $2.6 million in 1998.

Here's what it looks like today looked like in 1998 from the outside (nearly unchanged).

 

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