- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

Vikings Stadium ’up in the Air’

By:   •  Essay  •  842 Words  •  January 10, 2010  •  1,016 Views

Page 1 of 4

Join now to read essay Vikings Stadium ’up in the Air’

The man who is emerging as the lead owner of the Minnesota Vikings isn't thrilled with Anoka County's $1.6 billion stadium development concept in Blaine, and he has tossed the plan into flux, city and county officials said this week.

Zygmunt Wilf, a New Jersey real estate developer who is scheduled to visit Blaine today, has told officials that if he and his partners buy the Vikings, a domed stadium is not a priority. He also said that elements of the retail-commercial-housing development in the Blaine proposal don't appeal to him, and that he is examining land in nearby Lino Lakes as an alternative stadium site.

"He's got something in mind that he wants," said Blaine Mayor Tom Ryan. "But he's the only one who knows. We have to be sure his plan, whatever it is, works for the city."

Wilf has not returned repeated phone calls from the Star Tribune since February, when it was announced that he was a partner with Arizona businessman Reggie Fowler in an effort to buy the Vikings.

His scheduled visit today, his second to Blaine in three weeks, has officials curious about his intentions and vision.

"We're dying to find out," said Blaine Planning Director Bryan Schafer.

Of the Blaine plan, Anoka County Board Chairwoman Margaret Langfeld said: "It's just up in the air right now."

Two years ago, after evaluating three potential locales in Anoka County, county officials landed on the Blaine site, which has more than 400 acres ready for development. It stands just west of Interstate Hwy. 35W, bordered by 109th Avenue NE. to the north and Lexington Avenue to the east.

Soon after, the county proposed a fixed-roofed stadium, with a 300,000-square-foot medical clinic, a 250-room hotel, 1.3 million feet of corporate office space, 200 townhouses and 650,000 square feet of retail and entertainment facilities.

The total cost was estimated at $1.6 billion.

The county and city presented the plan to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Stadium Screening Committee last year and, with the concept, the Anoka County Board approved a three-quarter-cent sales tax increase to help pay for it.

But in a meeting with city and county officials on April 14, Wilf was apparently indifferent to a roof, questioned the need for the clinic and told political leaders that he would examine the Lino Lakes land, 8 miles to the east of the Blaine site, near Interstate Hwy. 35E.

"This isn't an exact quote," said Anoka County Commissioner Dan Erhart, "but he said something like, 'I'm a builder. Let the building to me.' "

Langfeld speculated that Wilf's interest in acreage other than in Blaine could merely be "a negotiating tool" as he begins to meet Blaine landowners, who for 18 months have been smacking their lips at the prospect of being critical to a stadium plan.

For instance, Rick Wilder, who owns 140 acres on the site and operates the Metro Gun Club there, said he believes his land could be worth more than $20 million, a staggering figure he has based on square footage for potential development,

"One of these guys might make me an offer I can't refuse," Wilder said. "But, I tell you, I'm

Continue for 3 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay Vikings Stadium ’up in the Air’ and other term papers or research documents
Download as (for upgraded members)