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  1. #1
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    [size=18px]Vikings, Anoka County close to stadium deal[/size]
    Paul Levy And Mike Kaszuba, Star Tribune

    http://www.startribune.com/510/story/435648.html

    National Football Leauge Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, right, listens as Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf talks to reporters outside a conference committee room Tuesday, May 16, 2006 in St. Paul, Minn., where Tagliabue lobbied for a new Vikings stadium.

    An announcement is expected Wednesday -- a day after Vikings owner Zygi Wilf reiterated his advocacy for an open-air stadium and said that he'd reached his financial ceiling and that he would not sink any more money into the project to get a deal done.

    But after the Vikings announced Monday their intention to build a stadium without a retractable roof -- expected to cost $115 million and to be financed by a proposed state tax the Legislature was unlikely to approve -- Anoka County officials voiced their opposition.

    "Without a retractable roof, I'm not interested," said Rep. Andy Westerberg, R-Blaine, author of the House bill for a Vikings stadium, said early Tuesday.

    "To take out such an important element ... it would be hard to take such a cut," said Dave Johnson, an attorney representing Anoka County. "Having a fixed or retractable roof was always a condition."

    Then the Vikings apparently ran a reverse. After an afternoon of negotiations, Lester Bagley, vice president of public affairs for the Vikings and the team's point man during negotiations, said, "We're close to a deal."

    While Bagley remained mum, prior to an early evening meeting with state Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, co-chairman of a joint Senate-House conference committee, Anoka County's Johnson was asked if a deal included a roof.

    "Yeah," he replied.

    Bagley and Terry Johnson, also said that a retractable roof was part of the potential agreement. Bagley said the Vikings and Anoka County are hoping for some kind of state participation in the project. He did not elaborate.

    The project may have hit another roadblock in the form of enhancements to I-35W and other roads leading to the proposed stadium site. The Vikings and Anoka County had projected a need for an additional $115 million for these improvements. Representatives of the MnDOT testified Tuesday night that they estimated the cost to be closer to $270 million

    On Monday, the team had said it would be willing to build the stadium without road improvements.

    The Vikings, third among the Twins and the University and Minnesota in a three-team race for new stadiums, appeared suddenly to have the financial agreement to build a stadium and the $1.67 billion Northern Lights entertainment-retail-sports complex without public funding outside of Anoka County.

    The county has pledged $280 million toward the stadium. Wilf has matched that offer -- and has pledged $1 billion toward the building of Northern Lights.

    National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who testified before the committee on behalf of the Vikings, said the $1 billion offer by Wilf was the largest stadium-related offer ever by an NFL owner.

    But even when it appeared that a roofless stadium might kill any deal, Wilf said he would not increase the $280 million he has already pledged toward the stadium.

    "Our own commitment of $280 million was, from the start, risky," said Wilf, who arrived at the Capitol too late to testify due to plane problems.

    "We are committed," he said. "Everything's working against us. Now's the time to strike. There's a sense of urgency."

    Approaching deadline

    The Vikings' lease at the Metrodome does not expire until 2011. Yet, with the legislative session scheduled to end Monday, a sense of urgency could be felt from the Capitol to Anoka County.

    Some of Wilf's pledge will come in the form of an NFL loan, courtesy of the TV revenue each team in the league shares equally, Tagliabue said.

    Known as a G-3 loan, the money is available to NFL teams only and not to Anoka County, Tagliabue said.

    As Wilf left the Capitol with Tagliabue Tuesday morning, an Anoka County contingent scrambled to come up with a plan that not only might appeal to legislators and the governor, but also to constituents who were sold on a closed stadium that could host a Super Bowl or an NCAA Final Four.

    The $115 million needed to build a retractable roof was expected to come from a state-wide tax. But on Monday, the Vikings threw a Hail Mary pass, telling the committee that the team no longer wanted the roof and, thus, no longer wanted legislators to consider an added tax.

    Tagliabue declined to offer his opinion on a roof, saying that it was a "local" matter and that Green Bay and Chicago -- teams in the Vikings' division -- were comfortable playing in open-air stadiums.

    But the commissioner said that hosting a Super Bowl could mean an economic boost to the area of $250 to $300 million.

    No news on Gophers

    Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota's plan to build a football stadium on campus spent Tuesday stuck in neutral. Although the Senate had appointed members to a conference committee, the House has not. House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, predicted that would be finalized today. Sviggum, in a brief interview as he left the Capitol, said that reaching an agreement on a final stadium financing plan should not be difficult.

    But Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, quickly took issue with the delay. "The end of the session is drawing near, and gamesmanship or delaying action will not help the Legislature complete our work on time," he said in a statement.

    However, Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, the author of one university stadium plan, was confident, saying: "There's probably less anxiety about the Gopher bill because there already is bipartisan consensus."


    If Tagliabue is at the meeting it looks like this deal is as good as done with or without the states participation. Wilf is not fooling around any longer.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

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  2. #2
    PackSux!'s Avatar
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    Re: Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    Thats what i like to hear.

  3. #3
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    Re: Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    i hope they build a roof. that way i won't have to travel 2000miles to see a super bowl

  4. #4
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    Re: Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    I don't care about a roof, I don't want the team to move.

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    Re: Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    That's some great news!

    Thanks for getting on that Cojo!

  6. #6
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    From the tone of that article it looks like the stadium is going to get built with or without the state's participation.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

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    Re: Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    This is definitley good news, thanks for the article Cojo!!!

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    Re: Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    "westvirginiavikings" wrote:
    I don't care about a roof, I don't want the team to move.


    I couldn't agree more.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    Awesome news, thanks Cojo.. I would prefer to have the roof so the Vikes can host a SB, but as long as they get approved for a new stadium, I don't care if it has a roof or not.. Go Zygi, Go Vikes.....

  10. #10
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    Re: Vikings, Anoka County Close To Stadium Deal

    HHHHHHHHEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLL YYYYYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS

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