Updated: 07/26/2013 7:39 AM KSTP.com By: Leslie Dyste
The Vikings' future home took a step toward reality Thursday.
The Stadium Implementation Committee approved the stadium design and expanding the tailgate zone.
It's a sigh of relief for Vikings fans like Dave Gunderson who says tailgating is all about bonding. "It's a big bond, we're like brothers and sisters, it's a big happy family, I'm not kidding," said Gunderson.
At the committee meeting Thursday night the Vikings asked the City of Minneapolis to expand the current tailgate zone because the team is losing more than 800 parking spaces in their new home.
The Vikings say 10,000 fans tailgate at every game. Vikings spokesperson Lester Bagley updated the city on their research on tailgating and where the fans stand. He said there appears to be a general consensus that this is a tradition that needs to continue.
While the committee approved the designs and tailgate zone expansion, the full Minneapolis City Council still needs to sign off on it.
Minneapolis isn’t only building a new stadium. There will also be a new five block, $400 million development project too. Earlier in the day, the Minneapolis business community got a firsthand look at the development plan.
"We're excited at the progress we've made, other hurdles remain," Rick Collins, Vice President of Development for Ryan Companies, told the crowd. Ryan Cos. is developing a plan approved by Minneapolis City Council last week.
The plans call for two office towers, retail, housing and apartment space, and a public park.
"Ryan will buy the properties, Ryan will demolish the existing buildings and other improvements, and will create a green canvas on which the community can then decide how to program the park," Collins said.
Plans for Park and Portland Avenues are still in limbo.
"We have proposed that at a minimum, Portland Avenue be closed to allow a full sports field programming flexibility on that urban park. A portion of Park Avenue is going to be open in any case because we need access to a parking ramp. But the decisions don't rest with Ryan nor do they rest with the City of Minneapolis. Those are Hennepin County roads, Hennepin County Commissioners will have an awful lot to say about that and we have just begun with actual traffic information that helps us understand what the traffic impact would be," Collins said.
The City of Minneapolis will have to commit millions to the plan and there are more votes on the specifics expected this fall.
"We won't know until the end of this year whether or not we have all of the necessary approvals to go forward," Collins said.
Construction could start as early as April 2014.