MV Eagan Ventures, a Minnesota-based development company owned by the Wilf family, announced Wednesday that plans are underway for a Scandinavian-themed four-star hotel and conference center as part of the 200-acre Viking Lakes development in Eagan.
Developers Mark, Leonard and Zygi Wilf, who own the Vikings, want to construct multifamily housing, offices and retail space on the parcel where they built the team's new headquarters and training facility, the 33-acre Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Their goal is to create a campuslike atmosphere for players and visitors at Viking Lakes, located near the intersection of Dodd Road and Interstate 494. Trails and a wetland preserve also have been discussed. The site once was home to Northwest Airlines' headquarters.
The 375,000-square-foot project, which will sit on 12 acres in the northeast corner of Viking Lakes, is in the early design phase. If all goes as planned, the project will break ground before the end of the year and be finished by the summer of 2020, said Don Becker, executive vice president of real estate development for the Vikings and MV Eagan Ventures.
"This is just another step in the larger vision the Wilf family has had to make Eagan a world-class destination," said Kevin Warren, chief operating officer of the Vikings and MV Eagan Ventures. "In order to do that, you need excellent hotel accommodations."
MV Eagan Ventures has applied for a development permit for the 320-room hotel and 18,000-square-foot conference center, Warren said. Plans call for a spa, pool and fitness center as part of the project, along with underground parking and a stand-alone restaurant open to the public.
City officials have encouraged MV Eagan Ventures to consider building a complex like this, Becker said.
"A conference center hotel is something Eagan does not have now, [something] the southeast metro needs and that there is a market for," said Eagan spokesman Tom Garrison in an e-mail.
He said city officials will review the development application and likely bring it to the City Council in October or November.
Brent Cory, president and CEO of the Eagan Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the hotel would bring more high-profile events to Eagan, especially tournaments that could be held at the Vikings' 6,500-seat practice stadium.
"For years, we've had larger conferences, conventions, tournaments coming into our area and unfortunately we've just had to turn them away because we haven't had the conference center," Cory said.
Eagan has 16 hotels and three others in the works but no four-star establishments, Cory said. He said the Scandinavian theme "will be very well-received by the Viking fan base."
The hotel's Nordic concept "is somewhat about heritage but also about the northern climate in Minnesota," Becker said. "It creates an atmosphere, a theme."
The building, clad in glass and metal panels and rising about 14 stories, might play off the jagged shape of an ice shard or another idea from the architects, Becker said.
The Viking Lakes development will take 10 to 15 years to complete in all. Already on the site is Twin Cities Orthopedics' medical office building and the company's Training Haus, a sports medicine center, he said.
The STEM Building, under construction directly south of the performance center, will lease space to businesses in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Design work also is in progress on a residential campus to be located in the property's southwest corner, Becker said.