One Step Forward For Vikings Stadium, But Issues Remain

Updated: 08/30/2013 6:28 PM By: Tom Hauser

The Minneapolis City Council has approved the design of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium that will one day be a major part of the city skyline. The go ahead on the project was expected after previous approval by the city planning commission and two city council committees. 

A Vikings spokesman and the chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority agreed it was a key step in the stadium process.

However, major disagreements remain over the lease and construction agreements between the authority and the Vikings.  The Vikings stopped taking part in the negotiations once the authority began an investigation of the finances of team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. They say they won't resume negotiations until that review is done. 

"History has shown that it takes time to work through these agreements," says Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the authority.  "So I'm concerned about the schedule." 

A spokesman for the Vikings, Lester Bagley, remains confident the project will remain on track.  "We're hoping for a timely resolution so we can keep the project rolling and we're confident we can keep the project on time and on budget," he told reporters after the Minneapolis City Council meeting.

Meanwhile, another dispute that is now tied up in a lawsuit could cause another problem. 

The owner of a key piece of land needed for the stadium development says its land, that encompasses part of the current stadium plaza, is worth between $24 million and $26 million. 

The stadium authority, in response to a lawsuit, calls that valuation "grossly inflated." 

Minnesota Venture, the owner of the land between Park Avenue and Kirby Puckett Place and Fourth and Fifth Streets, filed suit against the stadium authority last week.  A couple years ago the tax-assessed value of the land was less than $5 million.