Hartman: Vikings ready to spend more on stadium

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 23, 2014 - 12:26 AM

Lester Bagley said the process is similar to the decisions we make when we renovate our homes.

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Vikings owners Zygi Wilf, left, and Mark Wilf are learning that they also will have to pay extra to have all the amenities they want in the new Vikings stadium.

Photo: David Goldman, Associated Press

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The Wilf family, owners of the Vikings, is learning the same lesson the Twins and the Pohlad family learned when Target Field was constructed: If you want to build a first-class stadium, more than likely you’re going to have to go over budget.

When the Legislature approved the funding for what became Target Field in 2006, the bill called for a $522 million project that used a Hennepin County sales tax increase to create a public subsidy of $392 million toward the stadium and the other $130 million would come from the Pohlad family.

But when the ballpark project got underway, the Pohlads quickly realized that in order to have the best possible stadium, they were going to have to increase their commitment to have all the amenities they wanted.

So they increased their contribution by $65 million, and they have invested more since the stadium opened, so that Target Field would have things such as the canopy around the stadium, more stone throughout the interior of the building, radiant heating, wood-paneled seats in the club level and other improvements around the ballpark. Target Field wouldn’t be the world-class facility it is without those minor details.

Now Zygi Wilf and his family are learning that they also will have to pay extra to have all the amenities they want in the new Vikings stadium.

Last week, the Vikings announced an additional $1.3 million in spending to add escalators, elevators and anywhere from 800 to 2,000 televisions. But that’s probably just the start of extra spending as the Vikings are also going to put up an additional $2 million to add 18 suites in the stadium.

Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley discussed the recent developments as the construction moves forward but the price continues to rise.

“[The televisions, elevators and escalators] is one piece,” Bagley said. “… Going forward, the Vikings are going to invest in additional suites for a minimum of $2 million more.

“We’re going to go from 98 suites to 116 suites. We’re going to invest additional dollars in additional suites, an additional 18 suites that we will pay for but will be a benefit to all the events there — the Final Four, the Super Bowl — which did not benefit the Vikings, but it will certainly benefit for Vikings games. But for all events and for fans that go through the building will have an opportunity to benefit from this.

“So that’s approximately $2 million that will go into the suites in the future. The point is that where we are in the process is we have 100 percent design documents and we have decisions to make. Mortenson [the stadium construction company] and the stadium authority [the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority] are working through those decisions; they are design and budget decisions.”

The Legislature won’t put in any more money, so any additions to the stadium, or any higher costs with its construction, will have the Wilfs writing the check.

Maybe the Wilfs will wind up putting in a total of $100 million or more if they want a first-class stadium, because the price of materials has gone up over the years after the vote to approve the construction was delayed forever.

Bagley said that while the Vikings didn’t have a set price from the Mortenson Construction on whether or not design and construction costs would rise, the team understood it was possible costs would go over budget.

“It’s a work in progress,” Bagley said. “Just like when you renovate your house and you get your numbers in from your contractor and you have to decide: Do you want a $1,000 sink or a $500 sink?”

Division wide open

Twins closer Glen Perkins was asked about the importance of the Twins sweeping their four-game series with the White Sox after coming back to Target Field riding a five-game losing streak.

“That’s what we had to do,” said Perkins, who picked up two saves and a victory in the White Sox series before being rested Sunday. “We lost three tough games in Boston and lost the last two in Detroit close. Come here and you know, you hate to say that we needed to do this, but we wanted to win the series, we had a chance to sweep, and we did it today.

“We did just enough to get it done and it was good. We struggled down the stretch on that road trip after starting good. So it was good to come back home and play well for four games.”

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