Commissioners in Ramsey County made a tentative deal to buy the proposed site for the Vikings stadium in Arden Hills Thursday.
Zygi Wilf, owner of the Minnesota Vikings, said that they would pay significantly less than the pledged $400 million for a stadium not in the preferred suburban St. Paul location.
"We're committed to the Arden Hills site for what it brings to the fans, but we're also committed to investing over $400 million in specific to the Arden Hills site for the experiences that everyone can get from Arden Hills," Wilf told The Associated Press. "Any other location besides Arden Hills wouldn't justify near that level of commitment."
Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega, county commissioners, wrote letters to Gov. Mark Dayton and other legislators saying the price of the 430-acre property won't exceed the budgeted $30 million, the Star Tribune reported. Ortega said that the county has until Aug 1, 2012 to make a decision about 28.5 million dollar property without paying a penalty.
The Vikings have been pitching a new stadium to replace the outdated Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis for almost a decade. According to The Associated Press, the lease on the Metrodome ends after this season and fans are worried that the team will end up in Los Angeles.
This year the Vikings partnered with Ramsey County for the 1.1 billion dollar proposal. The local government had offered $350 million from a sales-tax increase to pay its share of the bill; however, last week Dayton ruled out a county wide tax-hike to cover stadium costs.
Funding still remains a mystery, but government officials are working on it. According to the Star Tribune the county is left with a $650 million share, with the Vikings paying around $400 million.
"Avoiding the issue, as seems to have been taking place in the last couple of weeks, does not work," Wilf told the Star Tribune. "It only gets more difficult and more expensive. We're very encouraged by leadership of both houses and the governor in trying to bring a stadium solution front and center."