(AP) The projected cost of a new Minnesota Vikings stadium would rise by about $41 million - to just under $1 billion - if the Legislature were to wait until 2009 to authorize the project, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission reported at a Thursday meeting.
In April, the MSFC unveiled a design proposal and put a $954 million price tag on the plan to demolish the Metrodome and build a new retractable-roof facility in its place. That estimate was based on current construction costs and a 2008 state approval for a 2012 opening, however. An increase of $41 million is a typical yearly jump for buildings like these.
The commission, which operates the Metrodome, has been working with the team on plans for the new stadium that now carries a price tag of $995 million. But even that could be a conservative estimate, considering the continued skepticism expressed at the Capitol about the public appetite to contribute.
There is no guarantee a spending bill can be passed in 2008, and another delay would certainly set the price tag higher as well as push opening kickoff back to 2013.
Owner Zygi Wilf has pledged about $250 million for the stadium, in addition to millions more he has promised toward related development of the surrounding neighborhood. But that still leaves about $750 million of the stadium unaccounted for, as the Vikings try to figure out who will agree to pay for it.
Wilf finalized a purchase this week of four city blocks near the Dome from the owners of the Star Tribune newspaper, one step toward fulfillment of his redevelopment vision of downtown's east end.
The Star Tribune, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the transaction, reported a $45 million sale price for the land - which comprises mostly parking lots and does not include the block on which the paper's main office sits.
Wilf said last month he paid $5 million for three other parking lots in the neighborhood, which together make up less than three blocks. The owner has also been in negotiations to buy a city-owned underground parking garage at the Metrodome light-rail station he wants to redesign into a glass-enclosed entertainment spot to supplement the desired new stadium.
"We are committed to bringing world championships to the state of Minnesota and to providing a first-class game day experience for Vikings fans," Wilf said in a statement released Wednesday by the Vikings. "We look forward to being part of a public-private partnership to build a world-class, multiuse facility that will benefit the entire state."