State panel paying $17 million deal to buy stadium plaza

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The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has agreed to pay more than $17 million for the plaza alongside the current and future homes of the Vikings.

As MPR reports, the purchase agreement resolves a dispute that had threatened to make the parcel between a light rail station and the Metrodome off limits to pre-game festivities. The site figures prominently in plans for the new Vikings stadium scheduled to open at the same location in 2016.

The land is owned by development group Minneapolis Venture, whose dispute with the Authority over the value of the land led to a lawsuit. The Pioneer Press reports the state panel had previously offered $13 million for the site, while Minneapolis Venture put its value at $24 million to $26 million.

Finance & Commerce reports the purchase also includes 450 underground parking spaces, which will help the Authority meet its commitment to provide parking for 2,000 vehicles adjacent to the new stadium.

Groundbreaking for the new stadium is expected in November, although no specifics have been announced. Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis are covering more than half the cost of the $975 million stadium. Budget officials this week named eight banks to underwrite the bonds that will fund the state's share.

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