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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    Is Vikings plan a boon or bust?

    Posted on Mon, Mar. 06, 2006

    [size=18px]Is Vikings plan a boon or bust? [/size]

    Wilf stands by numbers, but experts question the benefit of jobs, retail at Blaine stadium site

    BY ARON KAHN
    Pioneer Press


    The Minnesota Vikings grabbed the front page and prominent play on local newscasts a few weeks ago with projections about the enormous economic development and job creation that would spring from their proposed stadium complex in Anoka County.

    And as state lawmakers prepared for a session in which the Vikings might ask for public funding, the team blitzed Minnesota with television and radio ads that stuck exclamation points on their proposed sports, retail and entertainment center.

    But would the $1.5 billion public-private venture in Blaine really be the economic godsend promoted by the team?

    Or would it devolve into a lesser-magnitude project that would simply shift consumer spending to Blaine from other parts of the Twins Cities area — with the help of a state subsidy?

    Economists and public-policy experts say the second scenario is more likely. Numbers spouted by developers almost always are inflated, and the ultimate gain usually comes at the expense of other corners of the region, they say.

    "They're claiming public benefits that are very questionable,' said Art Rolnick, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis. "This notion that there will be a new increase is specious.'

    Zygi Wilf, the team's lead owner, stands by the complex's projected impact.

    "I'm very conservative in the way I analyze my deals,' he said. "Our numbers reflect that.'

    The team is projecting the stadium complex would create 9,000 permanent jobs and 3,900 construction jobs.

    "I'm sure there will be thousands of new jobs,' said Andrew Zimbalist, a professor at Smith College, North Hampton, Mass., and author of several books on sports economics. "But the question is whether they subtract jobs from people working nearby.'

    The issue arises particularly in a region like the Twin Cities, where growth is far slower than in Phoenix or Las Vegas, for example. When the population is fairly constant, there are limited consumer dollars available for retail, entertainment and sports, economists say.

    Rolnick says assertions of economic benefits are largely illusory, because money spent by consumers at sports complexes would have been spent on entertainment elsewhere. And the quoted numbers often are high, he and others say.

    "Most of the feasibility studies are based on unrealistic assumptions and generate forecast numbers that are not likely to be realized,' said Heywood Sanders, a University of Texas-San Antonio professor who has written extensively on the effect of public subsidies on urban areas.

    Wilf disagrees that the project would cause losses elsewhere.

    "It will be a benefit to the community and will not take away from the rest of the metro area because the metro north is underdeveloped for this type of use,' he said.

    His cause has an important ally. David Gaither, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's chief of staff, said the Vikings project shouldn't have to compete with stadium plans of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Twins, who have been running one and two at the Capitol in the stadium race.

    "The Vikings proposal is different from the Twins and the Gophers on many levels, primarily the scope of the economic development opportunity it presents,' Gaither said. Indeed, the Wilf media barrage seems to have hit its mark in the House and Senate, where legislative leaders have said they are impressed by the owner's zeal and his proposal's big numbers.

    Where once there was serious talk of a stadium for the university and perhaps the Twins, a three-stadium trifecta has entered the Capitol idiom this year.

    To be sure, Wilf knows how to put a deal together. Wilf and his colleagues have created huge developments in New Jersey, New York, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Wisconsin and California. Those developments made the Short Hills, N.J., developer wealthy enough to be the lead buyer in a $600 million transaction with former Vikings owner Red McCombs.

    But that's the point of John Lilleberg, a Blaine accountant who opposes the proposed 0.75 percent Anoka County sales tax that would pay more than a third of the cost of the stadium.

    "It will be a very good boon for the owner of the Vikings, but for the workers here, no, it will not,' Lilleberg contends. "They (permanent jobs) will be primarily minimum-wage jobs, and there's no guarantee the jobs will go to Anoka (County) residents.'

    Sports complexes can spark economic development, but look no further than downtown Minneapolis for an example of one that did and one that didn't.

    At the east end of downtown lies the Metrodome, which, since its opening in 1982, has spun off one bar — Hubert's. On the west end is Target Center, which has spawned two dozen bars and restaurants since it opened in 1992. In St. Paul, the Xcel Energy Center has spurred the establishment or major renovation of about a dozen bars and restaurants.

    But Xcel and Target Center were built in dense urban areas where redevelopment of nearby old buildings was a natural fit.

    Rolnick doesn't believe public subsidies should be used to redistribute economic activity. Let the market figure it out, he says.

    "If it's a good place to develop a business, it will happen, and if it's not a good place, it won't. Government does a much worse job picking winners and losers than the market does,' he said.

    Aron Kahn can be reached at [email protected] or 612-338-6516.

    Is Vikings plan a boon or bust?

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    Euphman06 is offline Asst. Coach
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    Re: Is Vikings plan a boon or bust?

    I see where you get your anchorman status singer.

  3. #3
    NodakPaul's Avatar
    NodakPaul is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Is Vikings plan a boon or bust?

    The best part of this article is that the author obviously tried to put a negative spin on the Vikings deal, but the positives of it still made it through:

    "The Vikings proposal is different from the Twins and the Gophers on many levels, primarily the scope of the economic development opportunity it presents,' Gaither said. Indeed, the Wilf media barrage seems to have hit its mark in the House and Senate, where legislative leaders have said they are impressed by the owner's zeal and his proposal's big numbers.
    [hr]
    On the west end is Target Center, which has spawned two dozen bars and restaurants since it opened in 1992. In St. Paul, the Xcel Energy Center has spurred the establishment or major renovation of about a dozen bars and restaurants.
    [hr]
    To be sure, Wilf knows how to put a deal together. Wilf and his colleagues have created huge developments in New Jersey, New York, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Wisconsin and California.

    Let's face it. Wilf is an excellent businessman, and knows how to build successfully. And who are all these "Economists and public-policy experts" that seem to think otherwise? The article listed only one economist, Rolnick. And while he does present a good opinion, it is just an opinion, and there are other just as qualified economists who say the opposite.

    I didn't see any public policy experts identified or referenced, unless they consider that accountant from Blaine to be one. :roll:
    Zeus wrote:
    When are you going to realize that picking out the 20 bad throws this year and ignoring the 300 good ones does not make your point?

    =Z=

  4. #4
    NordicNed is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Is Vikings plan a boon or bust?

    As the old saying goes " If we build it, they will come"


    The plus sides of a project of this magnitude far and above outweigh the downsides...


    I LOVE THE SMELL OF VICTORY IN THE MORNING AIR.

  5. #5
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    Re: Is Vikings plan a boon or bust?

    I just don't understand why people would compair anything to the metrodome, the people who planned the area are the ones at fault not the stadium itself. The reason why there is only one bar, is because thats all they built. This new stadium will have a parking lot for tailgating, something they also forgot to include when they built the dome. I think it is the best, most planned stadium between the three, I hope all three get passed, but this one should go first. Give credit to zigy for pushing the issue, giving us a realistic plan.
    You republican whore!

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