By Brian Johnson
BridgeTower Media Newswires
Despite a series of budget increases and other hiccups, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority said that it expects to close the books on the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium project with a positive balance in the owner’s contingency fund.
With the stadium now open, the sports authority has about $6.5 million remaining in the fund at this point. But Ted Mondale, chief executive and executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, said at the board meeting Friday that some additional “hits” are still to come.
“Even after everything we could possibly think of, we still have $2 million left in the bank,” with any savings to be split between the sports authority, the Vikings ownership and the stadium builder Mortenson Construction, Mondale said.
Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairman of the sports authority, cautioned that the $2 million is only an estimate.
“We aren’t done yet (with closing out the budget),” she said after the meeting. “But we definitely know that we’ve got a little cushion, so we will finish on budget with a little bit left in our contingency.”
That’s not to say all went smoothly along the way.
During the 30 or so months of construction, the project’s budget was adjusted upward several times from the initial $975 million, although the public’s contribution remained steady at $498 million.
In addition, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority found itself at loggerheads with the stadium builder Mortenson Construction over unresolved change orders. In February, the authority agreed to pay $16.25 million out of its contingency toward the disputed costs.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority also said that the stadium-design team, led by Dallas-based HKS, contributed $2.75 million toward that settlement in February. That money was added to the master budget on Friday.
By Friday, the budget stood at $1.129 billion, which includes $905.64 million for construction costs, $86.455 million for development costs, $58.32 million for site acquisition and $7.19 million for improvements to TCF Bank Stadium.
The budget includes money from the Vikings ($607 million, including seat licenses, borrowing and NFL financing), the state ($348 million), the city of Minneapolis ($150 million), and various private sources.
The football team has put in about $130.76 million above their initial $477 million commitment. This additional money has been used to pay for additional fan amenities and other improvements.
Mondale said the MSFA’s sales of commemorative bricks raised $1.6 million in profit, which will go toward “beautifying” the stadium plaza. The proceeds were about $600,000 more than what the MSFA expected to receive from those sales, he said.
Construction on the stadium wrapped up ahead of schedule in July.
“We would say that we ended this project early, we ended this project on budget, and we ended this project with money in the bank,” Mondale said.
Kelm-Helgen said more than 200,000 people attended a two-day public open house event at the stadium in July. The first sporting event, a soccer game, was held Aug. 3. The Vikings will play the first preseason home game on Sunday.