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Minneapolis leaders want Metrodome for Vikings

By Brian Johnson and Burl Gilyard
Dolan Media Newswires

Minneapolis — If the Minnesota Vikings want to build a new stadium next to the Minnesota Twins ballpark, the football team might need to find some extra cash.

In a letter Monday to Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders, Minneapolis officials noted a potential stadium site just west of Target Field would require $200 million or more in property acquisition and infrastructure improvements, not including tenant relocation.

The Metrodome site, by contrast, could be prepared for a new stadium for about $50 million, according to the city’s estimate.

“While the Metrodome site would require infrastructure improvements as well,” the area west of Target Field “would cost $150 million more than the Metrodome,” according to the letter, which was signed by Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis and City Council President Barbara Johnson.

“We recognize that the Minnesota Vikings play an important role in our state, and we want their continued success right here in Minneapolis at a site that makes economic sense — the existing Metrodome.”

John Stiles, the communications director for the mayor, said there has been a lot of speculation about stadium sites in recent days, so it seemed like the right time for the mayor and the council to “reiterate that the city has been on record since 2003 that the Metrodome is the best site.”

In December 2003, the Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution supporting a Vikings stadium on the Metrodome site.

Recent media reports indicate that four locations are under consideration for a potential stadium: the Metrodome, the Target Field area, the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills and a Brooklyn Park property owned by Target Corp.

The Vikings have met with Ramsey County officials about the Arden Hills location and there is plenty of room for a stadium there, but the property would require extensive cleanup.

As for the Brooklyn Park site near Highways 610 and 169, at least one local real estate observer wants to see it happen, but he is not optimistic.

Steve Hoyt, the chief executive of Minneapolis-based Hoyt Properties, is part of an investment group that owns 90 acres in Brooklyn Park, roughly kitty-corner from the land owned by Target Corp.

“We would love to have the stadium on our site as well,” Hoyt said. “… wherever it goes, the city is going to have to get behind it in a big way and figure out how to support it.”

But he said he does not think there is a stadium in Brooklyn Park’s future.

“I don’t think Brooklyn Park has a lot of dry powder to give to the Vikings,” Hoyt said, “and Target’s a public company and they’re driven by profit, and I doubt that they would contribute all that land for free.

“I think at the end of the day, like almost everything, it’s going to be a political decision. The first thing is going to be: Where’s the $1 billion going to come from?”

Although there has been lots of talk of a new Vikings stadium, there is no financing plan in place and no bill has been introduced in the Legislature.

The Vikings’ lease at the 29-year-old Metrodome expires at the end of the 2011 season, and the team has said it will not renew. Instead, the team wants public money to help pay for a new stadium that could cost between $700 million and $900 million.

In Los Angeles, two competing groups are trying to build a new National Football League stadium with mostly private money, and the Vikings are among a handful of teams rumored as candidates to move to California if the team does not get a new stadium in Minnesota.

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