Vikings to pay $41M extra for stadium


Minnesota Vikings owners will pay an additional $41 million for the new Vikings stadium, in part to preserve proposed "iconic" design features, the Star Tribune reports.

Overseers of the new Vikings stadium on Friday are meeting to finalize a budget figure for the project that had been estimated at $975 million. Now it looks more like $1.01 billion.

Planners have spent weeks poring over possible cost-savings measures, and it had been feared that some amenities may not make it into the final project, the Associated Press reported.

Design plans call for towering, pivoting glass doors, among other distinctive features.

The taxpayer share of the stadium is $498 million (state taxpayers owe $348 million, and Minneapolis will pay $150 million with hospitality taxes).

The Vikings owners had been responsible for the remaining $477 million, and they had set aside about $28 million in additional "contingency funds" to cover cost estimates above original bids, the Pioneer Press explains. On Friday, the team agreed to pay yet another additional $13.3 million in contingency funds, the newspaper reports.

The team will help pay for some of the stadium's most modern features: ribbon boards, HDTVs and a high-tech scoreboard, the Star Tribune reports.

Builder Mortenson Construction and architect HKS have been re-examining bids and mulling design changes in an effort to cut costs, but Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen and Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said none of the signature elements of the stadium would be cut.

Action today at a meeting of the MFSA, the team and the contractor is a key part of the project development because any cost overruns on the final budget would fall on the contractor.

Kelm-Helgen has said that final construction figures had been fluctuating, and that bids have been roughly $10 million to $25 million over the budgeted construction cost of $738 million.

Meanwhile, the state budget office on Thursday confirmed that the sale of $498 million in public bonds for the project will be put off until January, the Pioneer Press reports. The bonds were to have been sold this month, but delays in setting the final budget – the "guaranteed maximum price" – prompted a delay.

The delay itself won't affect the construction timetable for the new 65,000-seat facility, and it won't increase financing costs, state officials have said, the Pioneer Press reports.

A ceremonial ground-breaking has been set for Dec. 3.

The new stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2016 season. The Metrodome demolition will begin after the last home game Dec. 29, and the team is scheduled to play the 2014 and 2015 seasons at TCF Bank Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota Gopher football team.

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