Vikings stadium plaza dispute settled for $17.1 million

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and Minneapolis Venture have settled their dispute over the plaza in front of the current Metrodome.

The MSFA will pay $17.1 million for the plaza and 450 underground parking places. It had recently been assessed for $4.5 million.

Minneapolis Venture, run by developer Bob Lux, had threatened to evict Vikings fans and pre-game activities from the plaza between the Metrodome and the light rail station just to the west of the stadium. A 10-year agreement was due to expire at the end of this month, amid negotiations over the possible purchase of the plaza area for inclusion in the new stadium project.

"The parties are pleased, but I can't say anything more than that," says Jon Austin, spokesman for the plaza owner.

MSFA chairwoman Michele Kelm Helgen said the price was fair, even at nearly four times the assessed value.

"Those parking spaces are much more valuable to us than certainly than they have been valuable in the last years," she said. " There hasn't been much value in that parking lot without a stadium that's attracting a lot of outside development. And now with Ryan, those two office towers being built and all that residential and retail development, they're be much more use of those parking spots."

She also said there's added value in having public open space contiguous with the green space that Ryan has proposed on the land its buying from the Star Tribune.

"I think this will be a huge asset for stadium events, as we try to attract outside events. To be able to offer this very large outdoor space that can be used, I think that'll have a great deal of economic development impact. It'll be great for the Super Bowl, it'll be great for the Final Four... All of the sudden you can envision all sorts of outdoor activities that can take place in this very large park-plaza space."

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