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Vikings make competing bid for development near stadium

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The owners of the Minnesota Vikings have made an offer to develop a parcel of land across the street from their new football stadium in downtown Minneapolis, challenging the plans of Ryan Cos., a major development firm, for the same property.

The Vikings made their pitch Tuesday to a City Council committee which was already scheduled to discuss the Ryan development plan, according to the Business Journal.

The city had already awarded development rights to Ryan to build a Radisson hotel and an apartment complex above a parking ramp the company is building at 4th Street and Park Avenue, in exchange for $5.6 million.

But Radisson backed out of the deal in late June for financial reasons. Ryan said it would move forward with an apartments-only complex for $3 million, and only if certain objectives could be met in the next several years.

The Vikings came along Tuesday with a proposal to build a 16- to 18-story building with residential, retail and television broadcast space for $4.6 million upfront – with no contingencies attached, the Star Tribune reports.

The team's owners, Zygi and Mark Wilf, are real estate developers, and they argue that their plan would be a better deal for the city. However, their building would include 100 fewer apartments than the Ryan project – 250 vs. 350 – so in the long term, it might not bring in as much revenue to the city.

MPR News reporter Curtis Gilbert described Tuesday's committee meeting as "heated," with members asking tough questions of both parties.

Council Member Lisa Goodman said Ryan was pulling a "bait and switch" with its revised plan. And Council Member Jacob Frey, who represents the downtown area, said it was "fishy" that the Vikings are making a proposal at the last minute.

The parking ramp, which will have 1,600 parking spots, is already under construction. If the Vikings proposal is approved, the ramp will need more than $1 million in enhancements before the apartment tower is built. So Minneapolis officials need to decide soon how they want to proceed, according to MPR.

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