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September 16, 2011
MN house leader: No state money for Vikings, how about Metrodome reno?
Minnesota state house speaker Kurt Zellers, who earlier this week dared say that he didn't think the Minnesota Vikings would leave the state without a new stadium, upped the ante yesterday, saying he would oppose all efforts to spend state tax money on a Vikings stadium:
"There is absolutely no way we're going to be able to go to the finance commissioner and say, 'would you write out a $300 million check to [Vikings owner] Zygi Wilf, and put in the little memo section 'roof for the new stadium,'" Zellers told the [Grand Forks] Herald. "It's not going to happen."
He said the team needs to tie financing for the proposed stadium to "the game, something that as a fan, you as a participant at the game, are willing to do. I'm not really sure what this is just yet."
That sounds like he's looking for ticket taxes or user fees, which has been suggested before and not gone very far, in part because there's no way it'll pay for a nearly $1 billion stadium without eating into the Vikings' profits. Unless Zellers would accept a TIF, which would be another story.
Zellers also broached the possibility of renovating the Metrodome, which he called a "pretty good facility." So far nobody else has shown much interest in that, but if all the financing plans for a new stadium keep being stuck with multi-hundred-million-dollar holes, you never know.
The BC Place renovation here in Vancouver could make for a good argument against new. I've been very impressed with how it has been progressing.
I only wished they did it before the Olympics. It was a dump.
It was also pretty expensive, no? Albeit not quite as expensive as a completely new stadium.
The reno on BC place (including a retractable roof, kind of...) was originally supposed to cost $360M or so. Then it jumped to $455M. Then it jumped to $511M. I know some people who will tell you the final cost will be much more than that ($600m+), and they aren't the sort who walk around wearing "the end is coming" signs.
I'm not sure we can say it isn't as expensive as a new facility... we haven't built one of that size up here since the SkyDome... which was more expensive, but also colossally mismanaged during construction.
Having said that, the principle is a good one. Unless the concrete and support structure is literally falling apart everywhere, you can always renovate. Perhaps it wouldn't be 'as good' as a new facility, but if the primary tenant isn't paying, well, it's a bit much for them to insist upon a particular standard, isn't it?
As for HOK (re: the Chargers), well, never ask a surgeon whether you need an operation...
They need to resurrect HF2911, where they offered to sell the Dome to the Vikings for $1. If the Vikings are willing to dump up to $500M into Arden Hills already, I'm not sure how they can make the argument that they wouldn't put it into the Dome. They could replace every last seat in the place with luxury boxes if they wanted. Plus...think of all the money they'd make on truck pulls and Super Bowls!