When $975M isn't enough: Vikings scaling back stadium already


You could be forgiven for getting excited about all those glorious architectural renderings of the proposed Vikings stadium - like the one attached with this story - floating around, but the reality is, you can't believe everything you see.

To that point, the Vikings are already scaling back plans for the stadium, as the Star Tribune reports, before ground is even broken, trying to squeeze everything out of that paltry $975 million budget.

The first amenities to go, according to the paper: a 400-stall parking garage a block north of the stadium, a skyway linked to a ramp a block south, two large escalators and as much as 40 feet from the height of five massive glass doors at the venue’s main entrance.

“We only have $975 million in the budget, and there’s only so many things you can get under that number,” Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley says.

Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority - which is overseeing the project - has admitted that there are many moving pieces as the project goes forward, telling CBS earlier this week that many issues are unresolved.

This was in light of emerging details in the final lease agreement between the Authority and the team, which was inked last week.

Now she tells the Star Tribune that an uptick in construction costs have pushed some bids upward, totaling about $30 million over projections already.

Both the authority and the team are looking at restoring some amenities that might make the cut, but as one construction expert tells the Star Tribune, that's a pretty predictable cost of going into the stadium business.

Speaking of business, the Star Tribune also reports that plenty of folks want to help get the thing built: Twenty-two financial institutions have applied to help underwrite the $498 million taxpayer share of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

A source at the state's budget office says the list includes big-time names, including U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo Securities, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

It will take weeks to narrow down the list, and perhaps more than one bank will be chosen, reports the Strib.

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