It looks like the negotiations over an underground parking ramp and transit station plaza in front of the Metrodome are getting testy.
Minneapolis real estate developer Robert Lux, doing business as Minneapolis Venture, says he's revoking the agreement to let the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority use the plaza for Vikings games after Oct. 31, including "any playoff games in early 2014." He's also telling the stadium authority to get all its stuff off his property when they leave.
That's part of a lawsuit Minneapolis Venture has filed against the MSFA: It wants the stadium authority to quit telling people the property's inclusion in the plaza area of a new stadium is a done deal.
The suit comes as the MSFA and the Vikings have been talking to Lux about either buying the property or acquiring it through eminent domain. Jon Austin, a spokesman for Minneapolis Venture, says stadium builders have been alternately penciling the property into their sketches and blowing their own deadlines to open purchase talks. Here's the statement Austin released earlier tonight:
"We’d be happy to negotiate a fair, arm’s-length sale with them if that’s their preference. Similarly, if they intend to commence eminent domain proceedings, let’s get that process underway. And, if they truly aren’t interested in the property – which we find hard to believe given its prominent inclusion in their promotional materials and other documents – we’d like to know that so that we can move ahead with other development plans."
UPDATE: MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen offered a little background on the story: "We have been trying to negotiate a price for that property for some time, and we are very far apart in terms of what our appraisal says and the value they have in their mind for what their property was worth. We've been going back and forth and we were suddenly served with this lawsuit that says they were no longer negotiating with us and that we should no longer talk about this property."
She says the MSFA never represents that it owns the plaza. "When I make presentations, I go out of my way to say we do not own the property."
That said, she says she does think maybe Minneapolis Venture and the MSFA might benefit from a trip to court, to clarify the existing use agreement for the plaza, and whether it automatically extends to the new stadium.
Here is the list of particulars: