Vikings scrutinize downtown Mpls. stadium site near basilica

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2011 - 10:52 PM

Upcoming Legislature session adds to pressure for stadium plan.

hide

The Basilica of St. Mary.

Photo: Cheryl Guerrero, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Minnesota Vikings are taking a closer look at a stadium site in downtown Minneapolis near the Basilica of St. Mary, a $1.03 billion proposal that so far is the least known of the team's possible new homes.

While the team insists its first choice remains Ramsey County's Arden Hills, a Vikings spokesman said the team is conducting a detailed traffic analysis of the so-called Linden Avenue site because the property's ability to house a stadium was relatively unknown. Lester Bagley, the team's vice president for stadium development and public affairs, cautioned that the team does not yet have a preferred site for a new stadium in Minneapolis.

But in a telling statement this week, Bagley added that the proposed Farmers Market property -- another site near the Minnesota Twins' Target Field favored by some influential stadium advocates -- has "significant" challenges.

With the Legislature set to convene Jan. 24, and with Gov. Mark Dayton and others expected to push again for a public subsidy package for a new stadium, the jockeying over a stadium site is expected to intensify in the first weeks of January. The stadium's location, along with how to publicly fund its construction, have been the project's two biggest unsolved hurdles.

Ted Mondale, Dayton's chief stadium negotiator, said the Linden Avenue site "has a lot of possibilities" but added that all four sites being discussed for a new stadium have strengths and weaknesses. He added, however, that team, state and local officials were moving closer to selecting a site. "If we're not talking about [one] site in mid-January, we're behind," Mondale said on Thursday.

Three sites in Minneapolis are being promoted for a new Vikings stadium: the $1.04 billion Farmers Market site, the lesser-known Linden Avenue property and the Metrodome site, where the team has played for nearly 30 years and, at $895 million, is seen as the least expensive site.

Vikings and Ramsey County officials have tentatively put the cost of an Arden Hills stadium at $1.1 billion.

Bagley: Answers needed

"We've got our traffic engineers to weigh in and to evaluate" the Linden Avenue site, Bagley said on Wednesday. He minimized the significance of the studies. He said the team had to learn, "First of all, is there enough available parking?" and "What's the status of the property acquisition?"

"If the legislative [funding] package needs to have a viable site and if there's an expectation by anybody that the Linden Avenue site is going to be in that package, then there need to be answers to those questions," he said.

"All those questions have been answered on Arden Hills," Bagley added.

At a Senate hearing earlier this month, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said the city's first choice would be building a new stadium at the Metrodome, largely because it was cheaper and could take advantage of light-rail transit and other existing infrastructure. In describing the city's three sites in October, Rybak said the Linden Avenue site, which surfaced publicly only three months ago, "made a ton of sense" for a stadium; city officials said the property was appealing because the city and Xcel Energy already own much of it.

The mayor said the city's contribution to a Linden Avenue stadium would be $285 million, either through city sales tax and lodging tax increases or money from a downtown casino. The city, he said, would contribute $300 million to the Farmers Market site and an estimated $195 million at the Metrodome.

Bagley said there have been several recent meetings with Minneapolis city officials since a Senate hearing on Nov. 29, when the team was urged to explore whether it had any lingering interest in building in the state's largest city.

Farmers Market site issues

Barb Johnson, the Minneapolis City Council president, said on Thursday that Vikings officials had told her the team was concerned about the sloping elevation of the Farmers Market site, as well as the presence of Sharing and Caring Hands, a longtime charity for the needy that might have to be relocated.

"The challenges at the Farmers Market site are significant," Bagley said. At a meeting last week of downtown Minneapolis business leaders, Bagley echoed the problems at the Farmers Market site and said Arden Hills remained the "ideal" stadium location.

Bagley also said that building at the Metrodome -- though supposedly cheaper -- did not include the cost of having the Vikings play at the University of Minnesota's football stadium during construction.

Hennepin County Board chairman Mike Opat, a key player in assembling the public subsidy package for Target Field, has said he prefers the Farmers Market site. He declined Thursday to comment on Bagley'sstatements.

Chuck Leer, a real estate developer promoting the Farmers Market site, said on Thursday that he and others were working to minimize the site's drawbacks. The changes included, he said, downsizing the site from 34 acres to 24 acres, moving it eastward to higher ground and having it as close as possible to Target Field.

"We think that we can get it as close as 500 feet to Target Field," he said.

Staff writer Kevin Duchschere contributed to this report. Mike Kaszuba • 651-222-1673

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - R. Hernandez 12:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:05 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close