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Proposed deal on Vikings stadium behind Dome expected soon

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere under Funding, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, State budgets Updated: February 16, 2012 - 11:23 AM

There could be news today or Friday about new plans to build a Vikings stadium along the back side of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chairman Ted Mondale said Thursday morning.

An agreement involving the Vikings, Minneapolis and the state would lay the foundation for a bill to be introduced this session.

Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley agreed there could be an announcement soon, although he couldn't say exactly when. "We're making good progress," he said. "There are a couple issues left to clean up. It's a complicated agreement."

"There are five to seven items we need to button up," Mondale said, adding: "We hope to have an announcement for you in the next couple of days."

Then Mondale, with a slight smile, said he realized that stadium officials have made guesses before about timelines that proved to be wrong. The plan involves a lot of moving pieces, he said.

Officials worked into the late hours Wednesday on the proposal, which would build a new stadium over 11th Avenue S. on the east side of the Dome. Details include financing, operating costs and preliminary engineering work.

Most of the new stadium could be built while the Vikings continue to play in the Dome, saving the team much of the cost of having to play three full seasons at the University of Minnesota.

At the end of the 2015 season, the Dome would be torn down and the new stadium finished, hopefully in time to allow the Vikings to finish the 2016 season in their new home. They would play the first part of that season at the U.

A new stadium on the site wouldn't infringe on the 511 Building, a multi-wired telecommunications center whose owner doesn't want to sell. It also could be built to incorporate an Xcel Energy substation in the other corner of the site.

The stadium plan would open up a huge plaza on the new stadium's downtown side that could be used for outdoor concerts and other events with crowds of up to 32,000 people, he said.

Mondale said it was important to get the project underway as soon as possible, both to employ thousands of idled construction workers and to save money. Each year's delay could drive up the cost of the project by as much as $50 million, he said.

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