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  1. #111
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    Re: Wilfy working hard for a New stadium ....

    From the Star News
    Posted: 2/21/06

    [size=18px]Wilf proposal unveiled[/size]

    by Elyse Kaner
    ECM Publishers

    They came clad in black pin-striped suits, herringbone sport jackets and plaid flannel shirts. The women came, too.

    More than 100 people packed the Blaine City Council chambers Feb. 16 to hear Zygi Wilf’s proposal for what he calls the “crowning jewel of sports” complexes. Some were in favor, some not. The audience spilled into an overflow room where it watched the presentation on closed-circuit TV.

    Blaine has finally come of age. It has sprouted from a quaint town where nearly five decades ago a Holstein, every now and then, would meander across Central Avenue, to today’s burgeoning city when it’s rare not to hear of a housing development or new business popping up for discussion at the council’s bi-monthly meetings.

    Now the Minnesota Vikings are planning to come to town – in a grandiose manner.

    Ziggy Wilf, property developer and owner of the Minnesota Vikings, laid out a $1.5 billion economic development proposal for Blaine for a complex he calls The Minnesota Sports Retail and Entertainment Center. The proposal includes $1 billion in private investments.

    “We are becoming more optimistic and more aggressive about our prospect of success,” Wilf said about the mammoth project.

    Wilf unveiled his proposal during the communications portion of Blaine’s council meeting. The presentation was for informational purposes only. Residents did not have the opportunity to respond.

    That would come later, Mayor Tom Ryan said.

    The 740-acre development site, proposed at Lexington Avenue and 109th Avenue, would include a mix of retail shops, restaurants, housing, small businesses, corporate offices, a hotel and medical facility. Two hundred-sixty acres are wetlands that would be preserved and featured in the design plans.

    “We cherish this opportunity to incorporate this in the entire project,” Wilf said.

    The plans call for a $675 million Minnesota Vikings stadium with a retractable roof. The stadium would seat 68,500, but would be expandable for up to 72,000 seats to host large events, like a Super Bowl.

    The stadium would have 600 toilets for the ladies and about 500 for the men—no more waiting in lines to use bathrooms.

    The complex would become the new headquarters for the Vikings. It would feature 150,000 square feet of training facilities and an indoor practice area.

    A new Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame, Valhalla, will be incorporated into the retail center, including 20,000 square feet of exhibits and interactive features.

    A unique feature of the complex design is The Northern Lights of Blaine, a light display emulating the heavenly phenomenon.

    “Imagine scoring a touchdown and the northern lights in the shopping center light up and come into the stadium,” said presenter David Murphy of Crawford Architects.

    Crawford has designed the Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Turner Field in Atlanta, Qwest Field in Seattle and the renovation of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, to name a few of his stadium projects.

    The team estimates the development could usher in 4,000 jobs for construction workers and 9,000 jobs for overall development.

    Michael Monahan, SRF consulting principal, another presenter, said the project would involve road improvements and working with agencies to preserve the wetlands.

    “I do believe that what Zygi and company is proposing tonight will be something that 50 years from now or even 10 years from now, we can look back and our kids can look back and say, ‘we all had a part in making that happen,’” Monahan said.

    Blaine is working on a master plan and Alternative Urban Area Review (comprehensive environmental assessment) for the Pheasant Ridge area.

    The land use plans being considered for the area are a Vikings stadium, with administrative offices, facilities and retail development and a new master plan that would include a corporate office with manufacturing and limited retail manufacturing without a football stadium.

    The AUAR study and finalizing of the master plan is expected to be finished by approximately June 15.

    Pheasant Ridge is bounded by I-35W, Lexington Avenue, Naples Street N.E. and 109th Avenue N.E.

    “We’ll be the crowning jewel of sports not only in the Midwest, but in the entire country,” Wilf said.

    Ryan recalled about 20 years ago he talked with the late Gov. Rudy Perpich about a dream of a sports center “and everybody laughed,” he said.

    Today, Blaine is home to the Schwan Center, the National Sports Center and the TPC of the Twin Cities. “Visions and dreams do happen in a city,” Ryan said.

    In a press conference following his presentation Wilf said, “Under no circumstances will I ever move the Minnesota Vikings out of Minnesota.”

    Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]


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

  2. #112
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Wilfy working hard for a New stadium ....

    Listening to the news this morning it looks pretty positive that the Twins stadium will go thru & the Vikings have to wait until next year because the Gophers are 2nd in line.

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

  3. #113
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    Re: Wilfy working hard for a New stadium ....

    [size=18px]Zygi Wilf: Determined dealmaker[/size]

    Zygi Wilf has emerged as a get-it-done team owner set on making a $675 million Vikings stadium in Blaine a reality.

    Mike Kaszuba, Star Tribune
    Last update: March 01, 2006 – 12:44 AM

    As Zygi Wilf negotiated last summer with Anoka County to build a $675 million football stadium in Blaine, the new owner of the Minnesota Vikings already seemed impatient with Gov. Tim Pawlenty's lukewarm response.
    Wilf urged team and county officials to "TELL the governor we're going to be heard," and indicated he might go around Pawlenty by going "to fans with the plan," according to county documents. One Vikings official continued in the same forceful manner, saying that the "importance of Anoka County to the governor's reelection" should be stressed.

    Wilf's resolve and the details of how he cut the deal with Anoka County, which has pledged $280 million to the stadium project through a countywide sales tax, are illustrated in documents obtained by the Star Tribune through a public records request. With the Vikings now pushing the project through a statewide ad campaign, the early meetings show how Wilf and the team strategized to make sure the Vikings' stadium plan did not take a back seat to stadium proposals for the Minnesota Twins and the University of Minnesota.

    From the outset, Wilf emerged as a new, get-it-done owner who paid attention to details. With his developer's background, Wilf attended meetings on everything from the stadium's roof to its intricate financing, asking at one point whether the county would accelerate an upgrade on 109th Avenue near the project.

    In many cases, the documents show, Wilf and the county shared the same enthusiasm for the stadium proposal -- and worked together to shape how the media reported the story. But the behind-the-scenes view of the negotiations provided by the documents also shows some of the issues county officials confronted as they became partners with the new Vikings owner.

    Among the details:

    • Though a county resolution in 2004 capped Anoka County's contribution to the stadium at $240 million, with allowances for inflationary increases, the county and Vikings kept pushing the figure. By the time the agreement was announced in September, the county had agreed to $280 million. During the negotiations, the county indicated it would go to $290 million and Wilf floated a plan that would take the county to $300 million.

    • Despite the public partnership, there has been friction between the county and the Vikings over hiring consultants. Shortly after Wilf bought the team, the county worried that the Vikings planned to hire Hammes Co., a national consulting firm that Anoka County and Blaine had already paid $446,000 for help developing its negotiating position with the state and team.

    The friction continued with the Vikings' hiring of Winner & Mandabach Campaigns, a California public relations company, to help with the campaign to win support for the stadium. The firm was brought in without county input, and county officials were dismayed when they arranged a meeting for the firm with community leaders last month -- only to watch Winner & Mandabach officials cut the meeting short in order to catch an airline flight.

    "Were we fully integrated? ... Probably not," said Steve Novak, Anoka County's government services director. "Corporations are not used to input, they're not used to public settings." The Vikings are "very hard to help, but we're not giving up on them."

    Buy the Metrodome?

    Wilf's ambitious agenda emerged at an Aug. 5 meeting. There, in addition to asking about myriad details, Wilf even said he wanted to own the Metrodome, where the Vikings now play in downtown Minneapolis, and the underlying land. Asked recently about Wilf's interest in the Metrodome, Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president of public affairs, dismissed the discussion as simply part of Wilf's overall desire to pursue other development opportunities in the Twin Cities.

    But Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which manages the Metrodome, said Wilf has talked about the possibility, if only vaguely. "He said he certainly thought it had some potential," Lester said.

    On Aug. 16, Wilf was again exhorting team and county officials to push ahead. "Tell the gov -- we're ready -- how can you not address our deal now," according to notes from the meeting taken by Terry Johnson, the county's finance director.

    At an Aug. 31 meeting, Wilf announced that $750 million was his "top end" price tag for the stadium. He was also briefed on which local officials would be cooperative, according to notes from the meeting compiled by Johnson. "City of Blaine -- cooperative? [County Commissioner Dan Erhart responded] yes." As for the director of the National Sports Center, which is near the stadium site, Wilf was advised that "he'll deal."

    As the team and county discussed a stadium roof, Wilf said he was struggling to get NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to commit to having a Super Bowl in Minnesota. "Approached Tagliabue on Super Bowl. Cannot get a definitive answer but with [a roof] will make a finalist," Wilf told county officials at a meeting, according to the documents.

    The county, meanwhile, tried to help Wilf learn the political lay of the land. Novak, a former DFL state senator, said he has escorted Wilf to political fundraisers, including one for state Attorney General Mike Hatch, a DFLer running against Pawlenty.

    Throughout the negotiations, the county struggled with how to convince the public there should not be a referendum -- as required by law -- on using county sales tax money. A grass-roots campaign has already persuaded several city councils in the county to pass resolutions calling for such a referendum.

    In one memo, Jay McLinden, the county administrator, said officials should stress that the stadium would mean "jobs -- pride -- [and] tax base" to the county, and could, for example, be the site of a Neil Diamond concert.

    McLinden also made a list to anticipate critics who would argue the county did not want a referendum because the issue might be defeated. Under the heading, "Why do you not want to hear from the public?" McLinden responded by writing, "we hear from the public every day."

    Extending the deal's deadline

    Documents also suggest that the agreement's original Dec. 31 expiration date may have been a negotiating ploy to create pressure on legislators to act. Just before the agreement was announced at a news conference Sept. 20, the Vikings and the county huddled one final time to discuss whether to include a Dec. 31 expiration.

    Team and county officials, according to the documents, decided against using a June 30, 2006 expiration because it "then takes pressure off to consider us with the Twins" -- a nod to the fact that the Minnesota Twins were also seeking legislative approval for a new stadium, and the fact that the Vikings wanted the Legislature to consider both stadiums simultaneously.

    The plan did not work. With the Legislature showing no signs of taking action on either stadium proposal, the Vikings announced in December that they would extend the Dec. 31 deadline through this summer.

    As the announcement neared, team and county officials tried to offset arguments that the Vikings would be seen as forcing themselves into the stadium debate with the Twins and the university. "Don't bring Twins & Gophers down. Broader fan base can get more support for all three," notes from one meeting stated.

    The Vikings stadium has generally been considered to have the least amount of legislative support of the three stadium proposals considered at the Capitol this year. In trying to improve its legislative chances, Novak said the team and the county have had talks with the Twins about possibly presenting a united front at the Legislature.

    Though the talks have been "friendly," said Novak, the Twins seem set on going their separate ways. "They've been resistant to formalizing any partnership," he said.

    Mike Kaszuba • 612-673-4388

    Zygi Wilf: Determined dealmaker

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

  4. #114
    NordicNed is offline Jersey Retired
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Wilfy working hard for a New stadium ....

    What happened to the peoples wishes....

    I say they should just put it out to vote and have the people decide....

    Screw the politicians.......Most of them are a bunch of blow hards anyways......They only want in if they can make money off it.....


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