It was reported this week that Zygi Wilf was only willing to contribute $400 million to a Minnesota Stadium if the location was Arden Hills. It is believed that the reason for this is that it provides him, and the Vikings, more potential for purchasing and developing surrounding lands than, say, Minneapolis.
The Vikings made these stipulations official recently by sending the following letter to Governor Mark Dayton:
Dear Governor Dayton:
Thank you for your continued leadership in the discussions to build a new publicly-owned, multi-purpose stadium in Minnesota. The Vikings are encouraged by the fact that you and all four caucus leaders are having serious conversations about resolving this issue and that State leaders recognize the urgency for reaching a resolution. As we have seen in our seven seasons as owners, the strategy of avoiding this issue does not work. Further delays not only increase the overall costs to both the State and the Vikings, but also make the project much more difficult to resolve and prevent thousands of construction workers from getting back on the job.
While we are disappointed with the decision to eliminate the local sales tax option after being told for many years to pursue a local partner and funding source, we believe the most positive news is that State leaders are now focused on viable revenue streams that are sufficient to fund the project. The Vikings are open to how State leaders choose to finance the public portion of the equation, and we look forward to working with you on a comprehensive stadium finance plan.
We continue to believe Arden Hills is the ideal stadium site for the State and the team. It is also the site that is preferred by our fans, as it will provide the game day experience and a Vikings destination that makes this location superior. The Vikings have spent more than a year working with Ramsey County on the analysis of this site and we are confident that it will serve the State and our fans extremely well. As you know, the Metropolitan Council study completed in October found no new concerns that should prohibit the project at this site from moving forward. In fact, Ramsey County now plans to vote next week to approve a Purchase Offer negotiated with the Army that will provide for a fixed cost and timeline to acquire and remediate the land in accordance with the 2015 project schedule and budget.
Furthermore, the Vikings private investment of more than $400 million is specific to the Arden Hills location because of the opportunities that exist with that site. Any other location would not justify anywhere near the level of commitment we have made in Arden Hills. By building at this site, the State can leverage the maximum amount of private dollars toward this publicly-owned project, clean up the largest Superfund site in Minnesota, and improve roads in the region that need attention and will benefit the entire State. For your benefit, we have attached the most up-to-date images of the potential of a new multi-purpose facility in Arden Hills.
The Vikings stand ready to work with you and State leaders during a special legislative session this fall or winter. By doing so, we can put thousands of people back to work now and prevent further cost delays. We look forward to reviewing the State’s proposed financing package and to reaching a solution that fits Minnesota and works for the State and the Vikings.