Sources: Preliminary Vikings stadium deal reached
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- February 17, 2012 - 4:15 PM
By ROCHELLE OLSON AND MIKE KASZUBA
Minneapolis, the state and the Minnesota Vikings have reached preliminary agreement on the division of costs for a $975 million stadium on a site at or near the 30-year-old Metrodome, according to multiple sources who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity.
The city would contribute $150 million in construction costs to the downtown Minneapolis project. The state would pay $398 million and the Vikings would pay $427 million. The city also would pay approximately $180 million in operating costs over the next 30 years, the sources said.
The sources close to negotiations spoke on condition they not be identified. They added that details such as cost overruns remain to be worked out, but an announcement is anticipated next week.
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley declined to comment Friday on the numbers, but said “there is no agreement. Everything is subject to negotiations. We’re working hard on an agreement, but we’re not there yet.”
If the preliminary agreement holds, it is only the beginning. The package would need to pass the Legislature and likely the Minneapolis City Council – neither of which is assured. The National Football League would also have to approve the agreement.
The legislative session hits the midway point next week and, with the Republican majority talking of adjourning in late April, stadium supporters have worried that there will simply not be enough time this spring to win approval at the state Capitol.
Renovations to the Target Center are not part of the deal, but the city would be allowed to use hospitality taxes for that project, the sources said. Mayor R.T. Rybak initially proposed including Target Center upgrades and renovations in the deal, but that has not been well received at the Legislature.
On Thursday, a House panel in fact discussed eliminating a series of city hospitality taxes – a move that was seen in some circles as a way to pressure the City Council to support a stadium agreement.
City Council President Barbara Johnson, along with a spokesman for Rybak, said Friday they would not comment on the agreement until details were made public.
Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, the chief House author of stadium legislation, said Friday he had not yet seen the dollar amounts – and said he was “perturbed” that they were being released before key legislators were briefed. “I can’t confirm or comment on the numbers that I haven’t seen,” he said.
But Lanning said that removing Target Center directly from a Vikings stadium agreement would likely help sway votes towards the stadium project. “Target Center being included in this complicates the whole deal,” he said. “If, in fact, they’re not, then that would avoid some complication.”
Lanning however reiterated that he had not been told whether the Target Center renovations and refinancing had been removed from the stadium agreement.
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