The Minnesota Vikings could stay in downtown Minneapolis, in a new stadium on the existing Metrodome site, under an agreement announced Thursday by the team, the city and state officials.
Gov. Mark Dayton said the deal to build what he called the "people's stadium" is a "remarkable accomplishment," but warned that it still faced obstacles.
"I stress that this agreement is subject to the approval of both the Minneapolis City Council and the Minnesota legislature," Dayton said. "Much work remains to be done."
Under the plan released this morning, the Vikings would pay for roughly 50 percent of the construction and operating costs, with about $427 million coming upfront. On top of its contribution to construction costs, the Vikings will pay $11.5 million annually to stadium operating expenses, and $1.5 million annually for capital improvements.
Minneapolis would fund just under 27 percent of the costs through a hospitality tax, and the state would cover about 23 percent of the costs, or $398 million, paid for in part through electronic pull tab gambling revenue.
The deal guarantees that the State of Minnesota will raise no new taxes to finance the deal. The agreement also protects the City of Minneapolis from paying for cost overruns during construction, operations and capital improvements.
To pay its share of $150 million, Minneapolis would redirect a portion of its existing convention center sales and hospitality taxes. In exchange, the state Legislature would give Minneapolis control of a portion of the city's sales taxes that Mayor R.T. Rybak said would likely be used to pay costs of the Target Center and Minneapolis Convention Center. The city is also expected to contribute $6 million in operating expenses and $1.5 million for capital improvements to the new stadium annually.
The deal also locks the team into a 30-year lease on the property, commits the team to sharing any profits in the event the team is sold, and requires the team to play only one season at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium during construction.
The stadium would be owned by a public authority with a board of five members, three appointed by the state and two by Minneapolis. Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chairman Ted Mondale said the new project includes a pitch to lure a major league Soccer team to the state. The new facilities would also have space for events like monster truck rallies and rock concerts, which are now hosted by the Metrodome.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said the deal is on the "cusp" of being completed.
"The dream of keeping the Minnesota Vikings here for generations to come is close at hand," Wilf said. "It's an exciting day for the State of Minnesota, the City of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Vikings and our fans."
The plan still needs to pass the state Legislature and the Minneapolis City Council. House author Rep. Morrie Lanning said much of the draft bill is already completed, but that the new details of the plan need to be punched in.
"The time has come for Minnesotans to make a decision. Minnesotans need to decide whether or not we do want to keep this team in Minnesota," said Lanning, who will be the state House author of the bill. "We believe we have a plan now that stands the best chance of our getting legislative approval for this new facility to be built."
Dayton said the stadium project would create 8,000 construction jobs in the state and about 5,000 jobs on the supply side.
The Vikings have been pushing for a stadium for about seven years. Until recently, the Vikings have preferred sites other than the Metrodome. The team negotiated a deal in May 2011 with Ramsey County for an Arden Hills site that was withdrawn by the county after state legislators threatened to force a public vote on a sales tax increase that would have funded the local portion of the project. A site near the Basilica of St. Mary drew opposition from Gov. Mark Dayton after the church threatened legal action.
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