Reporter Rochelle Olson updates you on the construction of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

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Vikings stadium design unveiled

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: May 13, 2013 - 8:30 PM

Updated at 8:18 p.m.

By Eric Roper and Richard Meryhew

Minneapolis political and business leaders gathered at the Guthrie Theater Monday night to witness the unveiling of designs for the new, $975 million Vikings stadium.

The Star Tribune is live streaming the event here.

At nearly a billion dollars, the new stadium will have giant pivoting glass doors that open to the downtown Minneapolis skyline and a roof that, while not retractable, will let in so much sunlight come Sunday afternoons, fans will feel as though they’re sitting outdoors.

Seven stadium decks will wrap around a field of artificial turf and two giant high tech scoreboards will sit at each endzone.

At 1.6 million square feet, the stadium will be nearly twice the size of the outdated Dome. It’ll seat 65,000 fans for NFL games but accommodate up to 73,000 for special events, such as the Super Bowl.

The skyline’s newest addition will be asymmetrical and almost diamond-like in its shape, featuring sharp angles and a roof line that rises to a peak on the west end, which doubles as the building’s grand entryway. From the side, the west end juts out, resembling the prow of a ship or a jagged iceberg.

Clear story windows will run around the the stadium walls just under the roof line, with the signature feature being a glass curtain wall on the stadium’s west end. Five, 95-foot-tall pivoting glass doors that open at concourse level will allow fans to enter and exit and socialize on a plaza — more than two acres in size — just outside the stadium before, during and after games.

Conspicuous by its absence is a retractable roof, a key feature that the team and authority pursued and one that many fans, longing for a return to outdoor football, wanted to see.

To compensate, and give fans a feeling that they are outdoors, architects created openings for natural light.

Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking ahead of the unveiling, emphasized the jobs that it would create.

"I'm just so excited about tonight because it makes this stadium one step closer to reality," Dayton said. "And it's closer to the time then when they're going to dig into the ground and thousands of Minnesotans are going to go to work building that stadium. And then operating it after it's started...This is first and foremost an economic development project."

He also praised stadium supporters on the Minneapolis City Council in the room for their "heroic effort that you made in the face of some I thought pretty unreasonable opposition."

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said the building would tie together different parts of the city.

"You've got one of the greatest downtowns in the world," Rybak said. "You have this amazing University. You have the riverfront. You have the riverfront, you have great neighborhoods. But they're all separated.

"It's like the Metrodome was a space ship that landed and everybody ran from the martians," he added. "So now we've got a space ship landing and everybody loves those wonderful martians from outer space."

Two hundred tickets to the event were made available on a first-come-first serve basis at the Metrodome on Monday.

Following the presentation, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority voted to send the designs to the city of Minneapolis, which has four months to review and sign off on them.

In her introductions, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen highlighted the non-NFL uses of the new stadium.

"What we're really building is a state of the art, indoor, statewide park of sorts that will be used by thousands of Minnesotans throughout the years," Kelm-Helgen said.

The Vikings posted a stadium fly-through just after Dayton's speech. Here are some screen grabs.



Regents sign off on Vikings, TCF Bank Stadium deal

Posted by: Richard Meryhew Updated: May 10, 2013 - 12:31 PM

Finally, it's official.

After more than a year of negotiations, the Minnesota Vikings and University of Minnesota have signed off on an agreement that will allow the NFL team to play two seasons at TCF Bank Stadium while its new home is being built in downtown Minneapolis.

The deal, approved by a University committee earlier this week, was unanimously approved by the U's Board of Regents Friday.

Under terms of the deal, the Vikings would play at the on-campus stadium, which is home to the Minnesota Gopher football team, during the 2014 and 2015 NFL seasons. They'd pay the school $300,000 per game, cover gameday costs and foot the bill for any upgrades to the stadium to make it ready for NFL competition.

The agreement also has a provision that would allow the Vikings to play at TCF Bank beyond 2015 if their new stadium, scheduled to be ready for the 2016 NFL season, doesn't open on time. Groundbreaking on that stadium is tentatively set for October.

As part of the deal with the University, the team also has pledged to be "good neighbors," committing $90,000 plus $35,000 in in kind services to a neighborhood fund each season. New regent Peggy Lucas said before Friday's vote that she was "especially pleased' about that piece of the agreement.

The regents also approved a resolution that would allow beer and wine sales throughout the stadium during Vikings games and hard liquor only in premium seats. Regent Dean Johnson praised the U's negotiators for not agreeing to sell hard liquor in the general seating.

"I know there was pressure from the Vikings to have a broader sale of alcohol," he said. But, this is "a good compromise."

Staff Writer Jenna Ross contributed to this post.


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