The team behind development of the Vikings' campus in Eagan is growing, along with the physical transformation of the site once known as the world headquarters of Northwest Airlines.
St. Paul-based Ecolab announced Thursday that it is joining a group of investors backing a four-star hotel under construction on the Viking Lakes property, the home and training facility of the NFL team since it opened just over a year ago.
Ecolab CEO Doug Baker said the partnership with MV Eagan Ventures, owned by team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf along with their cousin Leonard, makes sense given that the company has a 2,000-employee research and development facility within a mile of the hotel.
"This is going to give us a great opportunity to have a working lab right there," Baker said.
The hotel, already pushing five stories of its eventual 14, is scheduled to open in October 2020, according to Don Becker, executive vice president of real estate and strategic development for the Vikings.
The team will stay there during summer training camp and fans can join them, Becker said. Higher shower heads will be one of the accommodations made for the NFL players staying there.
MV Eagan Ventures has put out a request for proposals for the hotel's name. As designed by ESG Architecture & Design of Minneapolis, the building will be in "American Nordic" style with lots of stone, wood and warmth, Becker said.
The hotel will have 320 rooms as well as conference space enough to court corporate events. It also will have the amenities common to higher-end hotels such as a spa, pool, fitness center and free-standing restaurant.
Becker said the hotel is going up on the site initially proposed for it. No additional public roads or utility infrastructure were needed there, he said. Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson is the contractor.
The Wilf group acquired the 200-acre parcel near Dodd Road and Interstate 494 in 2017 to develop a mixed-use campus for the team while preserving wetlands and trees and adding trails.
The hotel is the second phase of the parcel's development. The project already includes the full service Twin Cities Orthopedics clinic; next up is the residential phase, beginning with some 300 units of an eventual 1,000.
The hotel, on the east side of the Eagan development, is growing visibly bigger. So are the number of local partners behind it: Besides Ecolab, partners include Ma Mi Ma Real Estate Holdings and Viking Lakes Hotel Physician Partners, a group of physicians with Twin Cities Orthopedics.
Ma Mi Ma Real Estate Holdings is run by Mark, Mitch and Marty Davis, the owners of Cambria. The countertop company, based in Le Sueur, Minn., will supply the hotel with its products.
As Baker describes it, Ecolab's technologies and products wash more hotel linens and clean more rooms than anyone in the world. Not only can the company do the same for their new neighbor, he said, but it can use the hotel as a base for visiting clients.
MV Eagan Ventures, a Wilf-led effort separate from the Vikings, also is developing a 17-story apartment tower called 240 Park in downtown Minneapolis near U.S. Bank Stadium. The team owners were second-generation real estate developers in New Jersey before they bought the NFL team in 2005.
To Baker and Becker, the developments are a sign the Wilfs are expanding their commitment to the Twin Cities.
"They're certainly investing in the community," Baker said.