The Minnesota Vikings won’t get a vote this month on their move from Eden Prairie to Eagan.
Initially, the plan was for the Eagan City Council to take the critical vote on the sprawling, 15-year phased project expected to include the team’s new headquarters, practice facility, 10,000-seat outdoor stadium as well as housing, office space and retail.
But before Eagan can take a vote, the Metropolitan Council must review the plans and endorse them. Met Council staff, however, sent Eagan planners a letter last week saying they need more information.
Specifically, planners want to know how the development, on the site of the former Northwest Airlines headquarters, will affect traffic at key intersections and along Hwy. 55. The Met Council then wants a more “detailed implementation plan for the mitigation of the traffic impacts of the development.”
The parties are quick to say that at 185 acres, the project is a major one and this is just a routine bump, not a fatal flaw. But there is time pressure. The Vikings want to start work this summer because they’re ready to move out of Winter Park, which the organization says is too small for the team’s executive offices and football operations. Under the team’s desired timeline, the Vikings would move to Eagan in March 2018.
Because of the football calendar, spring is the only window to move. Summer means training camp and the preseason. The regular season begins in the fall and runs through the end of the year. Playoffs run into the following year. Delays also mean more money — for the Vikings’ owners who are developing the land.
Initially, Eagan was to consider the plan at a special meeting next Monday. Now, city spokesman Tom Garrison said the plans will be considered at regularly scheduled meetings in June, possibly June 7 and 21.
Met Council spokeswoman Kate Brickman said Eagan and council planners met Tuesday and agree on the timing, meaning it’s likely the proposal will be back to Eagan for a vote in June. The council’s role is “to ensure there’s infrastructure in place to support” the project, she said.
Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said relationships among the council, Eagan and the Vikings remain collegial. The team submitted 200 pages of specifics on the project to Eagan last month.
The team is trying to kick-start the Eagan project just as its new $1.1 billion stadium in Minneapolis prepares to open for the 2016 NFL season. Thus far, the Vikings haven’t sought public subsidies for the Eagan project.
Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf last summer acquired the Eagan land for an undisclosed sum. The land has seven discrete parcels that will be developed over time. The first piece, the team’s new home, sits on the north-central part of the site.