The Metrodome and downtown Minneapolis, looking west from the east side of downtown.

Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

Vikings stadium deal to be announced today

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE
  • Star Tribune
  • March 1, 2012 - 7:19 AM

A tentative deal has been reached to build a Minnesota Vikings stadium near the site of the team's current home, the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.

The tentative deal was reached Wednesday night, sources confirmed. A news conference laying out the details is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Capitol.

Word of the agreement emerged after a working group met behind closed doors at the Capitol.

The parties were said to have reached a tentative deal nearly two weeks ago. But stumbling blocks remained, apparently over how to divide the costs, how the parties would divide stadium revenue from non-NFL events and over the design of a large plaza-like park that would be built on the downtown side of the new stadium.

That deal was for a $975 million stadium to be built just off the east side of the Metrodome. Under that deal, the city was to contribute $150 million, the state's share would be close to $400 million and the team would pay $427 million. The city was also to pay about $180 million in operating costs over the next 30 years, sources said at the time.

It wasn't possible to confirm whether those terms were in the agreement reached Wednesday night. Among other details that were unclear is whether the agreement provides for the renovation of city-owned Target Center, which Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has said he considered a mandatory provision.

The next step would be for a legislative bill to be introduced that contains the basic terms of the deal. About half the 2012 session remains before the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn in late April -- time enough, most legislators say, for the bill to be heard and passed.

The most talked-about financing mechanism for Minneapolis has been extension of its hospitality taxes, after the city's convention center is paid off, to pay for the city's share of a new stadium.

Although several different ways of paying the state's share have been examined, electronic pulltabs have recently been discussed as a funding source. The White Earth tribe has proposed building a metro-area casino with the state and sharing the proceeds, but Gov. Mark Dayton has not expressed much interest in the idea.

Even if the bill were to pass at the Capitol, the deal still could need approval by the Minneapolis City Council. At least seven of the council's 13 members are on record as opposing the city's participation in a stadium deal without putting it to the people for a vote.

Rybak is pushing the stadium deal, which has so far garnered support from all three council members who represent north Minneapolis -- Council President Barbara Johnson, Don Samuels and Diane Hofstede -- and Council Member John Quincy, whose district is in south Minneapolis. Council Members Meg Tuthill and Kevin Reich haven't publicly stated which side they're on, though Reich said Friday that he may have to support a citywide vote.

There is a 15-year-old city charter requirement to hold a referendum on sports facilities costing the city more than $10 million -- a vote Rybak wants to bypass. The Legislature could grant a waiver of that requirement.

The NFL also would have to approve a deal.

Officials representing the state, Vikings and Minneapolis have been working hard on the terms for several weeks, since it became clear the financing plans set forth by Ramsey County for a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills weren't viable.

Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455

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