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Vikings Adding $19M to Stadium Project

Updated: 08/22/2014 6:11 PM
Created: 08/22/2014 10:11 AM KSTP.com
By: Kate Renner

Two years away from opening day, an agreement was reached Friday between the Vikings, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and Mortenson Construction to cover the extra costs coming up during construction.

Crews are in the process of pouring concrete and raising steel into place to form the framework of the new Minnesota Vikings Stadium. A skyline of cranes lifts up the lattice-work of durable steel. But that steel is coming in way over budget.

It's one of many reasons the Vikings are stuck with a larger tab then they expected, paying nearly $50 million more to keep the construction on pace.

The Wilf brothers and co-owners of the Vikings went on a tour of the construction through a maze of scaffolding, Friday. The Wilfs and the Vikings franchise already agreed up front to pay $477 million, but that has changed midway through the game. Now they've agreed to pay $526 million.

"It preserved the design, preserved the fan experience, and our ownership stepped up because they want to preserve that experience for our fans," said Lester Bagley, Minnesota Vikings Exec. Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development.

This means the Vikings are now paying more than taxpayers, totaling 51 percent of the more than $1 billion project. The team knew the state already capped its contribution.

"The $498 million that was put in by the state and city of Minneapolis, that's it. There's no more. We always knew that, really our choices were making value engineering decisions, adding some additional money," said Michele Kelm-Helgen, Chair of Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

Mortenson Construction says some of the premiere amenities like air curtains for the giant glass doors and top-notch acoustics are racking up the price tag. If costs go up even more, Mortenson said it may have to eat the cost, or they may go back to the Vikings and ask them to contribute more.

"It depends on what causes an increase (in cost)," said John Wood, Mortenson Construction Senior Vice President.

Steel is coming in at a higher cost. For example, 700 tons of steel will be needed to build the roof's snow management system. That steel was bid at $33.6 million. It's now selling for $42 million. Wood says that's just a result of supply and demand.

"At the end of the day we could not buy it for what we had budgeted," said Wood.

The larger-than-life scoreboard is still going up. That cost comes out of a separate technology budget.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority voted to charge a Major League Soccer team $340,000 annually in rent to play at the stadium. The authority is hoping to make the stadium a real option for any soccer team looking for a home.

"By setting the rent it was important that we would signal what those costs would be, so they'd have more certainty as they look at our market," said Kelm-Helgen.

"We now have terms that work for the MLS, and we'll continue to work with the MLS to pursue a team," said Bagley.

But for now, it's just the Vikings who call the stadium home, and they're on the hook for the recent costs that sent the project over budget.

Also on Friday, the authority voted to hire a company called "SMG" to manage the stadium. SMG currently operates four other NFL stadiums: Soldier Field, Mercedes Benz Superdome, Everbank Field and NRG Stadium.


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