Ramsey County and Vikings announce $1.05B retractable-roofed stadium plan

That didn’t take long. Just 24 hours after Minneapolis announced its Vikings stadium plan, Ramsey County announced its own. This one would cost $1.05 billion, and have something Minneapolis doesn’t have — the agreement of the Vikings:

The agreement calls for an $884 million stadium and an additional $173 million for on-site infrastructure, parking and environmental costs.

Ramsey County said the Vikings will commit $407 million to the project — 44 percent of the stadium costs and 39 percent of the overall costs. The county’s share would be $350 million, to be financed by a half-cent sales tax increase.

Why the Vikings objected to paying $400 million for a Minneapolis stadium but are willing to put up $407 million for one in Arden Hills is a mystery, unless 1) they really, really don’t want to have to play at the U of M stadium for three years; 2) they really, really want to play in the burbs where there’s ample room for parking and tailgating; or 3) they were offended that Minneapolis came up with its plan without them, while Ramsey County said “please” and “thank you.”

In any case, there’s still one thing the Ramsey County plan hasn’t got: actual money. To get that, the state legislature will have to approve both $300 million in state funding and a get-out-of-referendum-free card for Ramsey County, which otherwise would be required by law to hold a public vote to raise its sales tax. Both of those items are included in the Rosen bill; however, last we checked in the bill was getting extremely lukewarm reviews, and it has only until a week from next Monday to make it through committee and to a vote. (Though this latest announcement will likely light a fire under some legislators, especially those from Ramsey County who dig football and higher sales taxes.)

If nothing else, Zygi Wilf and his crew have pulled off an impressive come-from-behind drive: Just two months after it looked like a Vikings stadium bill was dead for this year, now the team owners have at least an outside shot of getting something passed, NFL lockout be damned; and if not, they still got a jump start on a city-vs-suburb bidding war to whip up in earnest for 2012. If they’re thinking long-term &mdash and most sports owners worth their salt are able to do so when it comes to stadium deals — that’s a win for the Wilfs, regardless of how things turn out in the legislature the next two weeks.


8 comments on “Ramsey County and Vikings announce $1.05B retractable-roofed stadium plan

  1. I can think of one reason this is now the favored plan: There won’t be a public vote.

    I’m sure there’s just as much opposition in Arden Hills, in terms of percentages, but when you’ve found a way to get around a public vote, that always has to be considered the preferred approach.

    Sneaky ba****ds.

  2. There are two major problems with the Ramsey Co plan. 1 – The governor, the transportation sec and the chief author the Senate bill told the Vikings and Ramsey County that they needed to include $180M of road costs in thier plan and that the State will not go over $300M. The plan ignores road costs which actually brings the total cost to over $1.2B.

  3. Here is another problem. The stadium site is a superfund site which means that the site will need to be cleaned up before the stadium will be built.

  4. Thanks for the clarification, Jessy — the initial reports were a bit confusing about what they meant by “infrastructure,” so I assumed that the road costs were incorporated into that. If it’s another $175m on top … good luck.

  5. As I wrote in the previous thread, it’s all about tailgating and open air. Same reasons the Falcons are against a Georgia Dome renovation.

    Say what you will about NFL owners, but they respond to their fans. Fans love to tailgate, which is exactly why I am against a football stadium at the convention center site in Los Angeles.

  6. @Ben M I seriously doubt the owners have the fans best interest in mind. With the increased restrictions NFL teams are putting on tailgaters, is all about getting fans to pay $$$ for parking then spending ridicilous amounts inside the stadium.

  7. @Ken Yes, I’m sure that’s it. Tailgating is an evil plot subconsciously inserted into the minds of football fans by evil owners trying to make a quick buck before skipping town.

  8. I truly think the NFL owners do want tailgating. All this lockout will do is get a better deal for them and sack Roger Goodell as commissioner. He is considered the owners public face and I think they would want somebody like Jerry Jones in the office. The only difference is that the commish is taking the fall for the possible loss of the NFL Season.