With only three weeks left in the Minnesota Legislative session, we were promised details of a Vikings bill sometime soon. Given the late date, extra-ordinary parliamentary procedures will be needed to get a Vikings bill on the floor of the Senate and House for a vote. The public has not seen any bill details whatsoever. There has been no public debate. As a reminder, 4 years ago when the Twins ballpark bill was approved, the details of the financing plan had been made public for 13 months, there were numerous public hearings about the details and anyone who was interested knew how the ballpark would be financed. Just sayin'.
My prediction is that there won't be a Vikings stadium bill this year, it's too late. However the work that is being done and the bill promised will set the groundwork for a bill next year. That way we will have the 13 month review process, public airings, etc, that the Twins bill was afforded.
Right now the Vikings are publically promoting a $670M open air stadium. The Vikings have said that they would pay for 1/3 of the cost. Also a retractable roof is projected to cost another $200M and the Vikings have stated that they wouldn't pay for that as a roof would be a state resource, and unneeded for the Vikings. But why do we need a retractable roof? A movable roof, while kind of cool, is a lot more expensive than a fixed roof, and given the record of retractable roofs in baseball and football, the roof is usually closed unless there is absolutely glorious weather. Plus a retractable roof takes up more real estate.
Below is a chart of some recently built stadiums, including roof, year built, and cost. Now of course different stadiums have different amenities attached and inflation on half-billion projects adds up fast, but still it is interesting:
Dallas - 2009, Retractable Roof, $1.3B
Indianapolis - 2008, Retractable Roof, $720M
Arizona - 2006, Retractable Roof, $455M
Detroit - 2002, Fixed Roof, $430M
Seattle - 2002, No Roof, $430M
Houston - 2002, Retractable Roof, $352M
The last two stadiums in Dallas and Indianapolis were a lot more expensive than the previous stadiums. Now the Dallas stadium is huge and has many amenities but I think the Indianapolis stadium is a good benchmark. Compare that to the fixed roof stadium in Detroit. Granted it opened 6 years earlier, but inflation was relatively modest during this time period. Ford Field in Detroit has been give relatively good reviews. Why can't we build something like that for around $600M? See if we can get the Wilf's to pitch in 250M and that leaves "only" $350M to raise publically. That's similar to what the Twins got from the public and is easily digestible.
What do you think?
UPDATE: Here's a pretty good article from the SPP. Based on this article I don't see a Vikings bill happening this session. Not enough details worked out and too little time.