3 bidders set sights on Vikings stadium

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 21, 2013 - 9:28 PM

Mortenson Construction of Minneapolis is among firms seeking to oversee construction of $975 million Vikings project.

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Architect HKS Inc. designed these preliminary schematics of a new Vikings stadium.

A leading builder of NFL stadiums and the local contractor that oversaw construction of the Twins' Target Field are among three firms competing to build the new home for the Minnesota Vikings.

Hunt Construction of Scottsdale, Ariz., builder of a dozen NFL stadiums, including two with retractable roofs, and Mortenson Construction of Minneapolis, which built home venues for the Twins, Wild, Timberwolves and University of Minnesota football team, submitted formal bids for the construction management work Monday to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

The public authority is overseeing development of the $975 million, multipurpose stadium on the Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis.

Skanska AB, an international firm based in Sweden that has built several NFL stadiums, including the new home shared by the New York Giants and New York Jets, also is bidding for the contract, which is expected to pay 2 to 4 percent of the stadium's $682 million building cost.

The Vikings have said the project could create as many as 7,500 construction jobs over a three-year period.

Combined, Hunt, Mortenson and Skanska have served as construction managers for more than 100 sports stadiums and arenas across the United States.

"I think we've got a very solid group," said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president. "We're confident any one of the three could handle the project and deliver what we're looking for."

In overseeing development of the 65,000-seat stadium, the builder will establish the budget for what can be designed and built and map out a construction timeline and work schedule. It also will provide a guaranteed maximum price for construction.

While Mortenson is the only local firm to submit a bid, it's possible that Hunt and Skanska will pair with smaller, local construction companies to coordinate work, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the stadium authority.

Representatives of two local construction firms -- Kraus-Anderson of Minneapolis and Loeffler Construction of Lakeville -- attended a pre-proposal meeting hosted by the authority and team almost two weeks ago.

Kelm-Helgen and Bagley have said that the authority and team are committed to ensuring that much of the work goes to Minnesota firms and workers.

"Once we get the construction manager on board, we turn the corner and start moving forward on design decisions as well as hiring Minnesota workers, which is what this project is all about," Bagley said.

The Vikings and the stadium authority will interview the bidders Wednesday and plan to pick a builder by early February, Kelm-Helgen said.

She added that the content of the bids is confidential until a contractor is selected.

Hunt has built nearly 50 professional sports venues, including 28 stadiums for Major League Baseball and NFL teams. It also has built two NFL stadiums with retractable roofs -- Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, home of the Indianapolis Colts, and the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., home of the Arizona Cardinals.

The stadium legislation approved last spring calls for the Vikings' stadium to have a fixed roof. But Bagley said the team prefers a retractable roof or at the very least, a giant, movable wall or window if it can be installed within the construction budget.

Hunt worked with HKS Inc., architect of the Vikings' stadium project, on Lucas Oil, which also has a retractable wall that slides open, enabling fans to view Indianapolis' downtown skyline.

In addition to the four local stadiums it built, Mortenson was general contractor for the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, home of the NFL's St. Louis Rams. The company also has done extensive renovation work. Among its high-profile projects: the refurbished Kinnick Stadium, home of the University of Iowa's football team, and the $243 million makeover of St. Paul's Union Depot.

Skanska was general contractor for the 82,600-seat MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., home of the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets. It also built Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., home of the NFL New England Patriots; and LP Field in Nashville, home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

"We're excited about turning the corner on the project," Bagley said.

The Vikings hope to break ground on the stadium in October and open it in time for the 2016 NFL season.

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425

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