What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to baird.helgeson@startribune.com.

Public cost for stadium-area skyways: $10.3M

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: December 9, 2013 - 4:02 PM

Skyways constitute a major public cost of the proposed development adjacent to the new Vikings stadium.

The public portion of the $400 million deal amounts to about $84.2 million (page 17). Most of that will fund a 1,600 stall parking ramp and a not-quite-two-block public park.

But about $10.3 million will pay for skyways to connect the entire development to downtown Minneapolis, using money from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is overseeing construction of the stadium and helping fund the parking ramp.

The stadium legislation only required that the new parking ramp be connected via skyway:

"2,000 parking spaces within one block of the stadium, connected by skyway or tunnel to the stadium, and 500 parking spaces within two blocks of the stadium, with a  dedicated walkway on game days"

Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said the skyways will help attract major sporting events that garner significant economic revenue for the city and region. She has been in talks with the NCAA and people affiliated with the Superbowl.

“it’s very clear that part of what’s exciting people about our stadium is the fact that you could stay at hotels in the downtown core and be able to – in the winter, when most of these events take place – be able to walk through the skyways to get to the stadium,” Kelm-Helgen said.

The term sheet (page 5) says that Ryan Cos. will build skyways connecting the city-owned Haaf parking ramp to one office tower, the two office towers, and the office tower to the new parking ramp. A final skyway would run from the parking lot to the stadium, though the MSFA could elect to have it designed and constructed by another company (see diagram).

Not all of the authority's funds are public. The entity's global budget is a mixture of funding from the city, state and Minnesota Vikings.

That many new skyways runs somewhat in conflict with city officials' goal to create a vibrant street scape around the stadium and inside the new park. In 2012, Rybak said the city shouldn't build new skyways because of their detrimental effect on street-level vitality.

"I don't think we need any more skyways," Rybak said. "I don't think that they help at all."

Correction: This post originally stated the $10.3 million figure has increased since June, when it was $6.4 million. The June $6.4 million figure only accounted for skyways not required by the legislation, therefore excluding the costs to build a skyway from the new parking ramp to the stadium. The June plan envisioned different skyways connecting into the stadium, making the costs hard to compare.

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