Vikings stadium on budget, on schedule, MSFA says - KMSP-TV

Vikings stadium on budget, on schedule, MSFA says

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

A lease and the development agreement for the new Vikings stadium are on the table in a Legislative Commission on Minnesota Sports Facilities meeting on Thursday.

While the committee cannot change any of the agreements developed a few weeks ago, the meeting allows lawmakers to voice concerns and evaluate where the $975-million project is headed.

MSFA chair Michele Kelm-Helgen told the oversight committee on Thursday that so far, the new stadium is on budget and on schedule for groundbreaking.

Kelm-Helgen said the bids put out by Mortenson Construction have gone over estimates, but Mortenson will have a guaranteed maximum building price next week.

Although the deal allows three foreign games in the new stadium, Vikings vice president Lester Bagley told the committee the team wants to build a home field advantage.

Bagley said BCS representatives will be at Sunday's home matchup against Green Bay to look at Minneapolis as a potential host for a BCS game in 2017.

"We're just going to host them have a little informal gathering before the game, but with the encouragement and formal request that they bring the BCS game championship here -- the new bowl championship series for the NCAA," Bagley explained.

In addition, the team has until April to submit a bid to host a Super Bowl -- Minneapolis has a chance to host in 2018, 2019 or 2020.

The development agreement includes the sale of personal seat licenses to fans who want the right to buy a season ticket. The stadium legislation allows the team to collect license fees, but for some, "owning" a seat and also paying for season tickets is too much to shell out. The MSFA hasn't finalized fees for season ticket holders yet, but a handful of teams in the NFL already have them, including three of the four franchises that recently built new stadiums. The San Francisco 49s charged a one-time fee of $2,000-$80,000 per seat.

Yet, the group also announced that the Vikings may price 3,250 "affordable tickets" to each home game that could fall in the $40 range. The team has also began discussions about selling the tickets through non-profit organizations.

"Maybe there's a group -- or a number of groups -- that, game by game, are given access to those tickets and have them available for their people, or walk-throughs or someone else," Kelm-Helgen explained.

The effort should ensure that tickets are kept out of the hands of brokers who would scoop up the low-cost chairs and resell them at a higher price, officials say.

DOWNTOWN EAST PLAZA DEAL REACHED

A battle over Vikings game day on the Downtown East plaza is over after the owner and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority reached a purchase agreement Thursday morning.

The authority said Thursday it agreed to purchase the plaza that's bordered by Park Avenue S. and Kirby Puckett Place between 4th and 5th Streets for $17.1 million. Originally, the authority offered $13.1 million for the site, but owner Minneapolis Venture LLC said in April that $24 to $26 million would be a more fitting price, the Star Tribune reported.

A bitterly contested debate between Minneapolis Venture and the authority also included a 2003 agreement that allows game day events on the plaza until Oct. 31. Now, the plaza will be available for the four remaining Vikings games in November and December, and technically, for any playoff games, though the possibility of a Vikings playoff appearance seems dismal.

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