The Minnesota Senate followed the early-morning lead of the Minnesota House, passing a bill to help finance a new $975 million Vikings stadium.
The House passed the bill by a 71-60 vote after a conference committee emerged with the final bill hours earlier. At about 2 p.m. Thursday, the Senate passed the same bill, 36-30.
"We've been at this for a very long time and emotions are running very high about this issue," said Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont), the bill's author. "… I think it's time we start believing what we hold special."
"We're going to have a really great stadium because of this."
The bill now moves to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk for approval, who took a lead on the issue and said he will sign it.
According to the bill, the state share of the stadium costs would be limited to $348 million, down $50 million, and the Vikings' contribution would be $477 million. Early Thursday morning, Vikings Vice President of Stadium Development Lester Bagley told the conference committee that the team would agree to the $50 million increase.
"It is vastly improved for the taxpayers of Minnesota," Sen. Ken Kelash (DFL-Minneapolis) said.
With the House and Senate vote behind them and Gov. Dayton's expected approval, the only remaining hurdle is the approval of the Minneapolis City Council. The city's share of the stadium partnership is $150 million and the council would have to vote on that within 30 days. Mayor R.T. Rybak believes he has the votes to pass the bill.
The outline of the stadium itself remained the same as previous bills. It would be 1.5 million square feet with approximately 65,000 seats, expandable to 72,000 seats to meet NFL standards to host a Super Bowl. In addition, plans called for 150 suites, approximately 7,500 club seats, 2,000 parking spaces within a block of the stadium or connected by skyway or tunnel, and an additional 500 parking spots within two blocks.
Another key was the term of the lease, set at 30 years. One version of the previous bills called for a 40-year lease, which was a sticking point for the team.
The Vikings would be required to play all preseason, regular-season and postseason home games at the new stadium with the exception of three home games every 15 years allowed outside of the United States.
A "clawback" provision would allow the public to recoup more money if the team was sold. If the team was sold in whole or part in the first 10 years of the lease, the public would get 25 percent of the profits, decreasing to 15 percent in years 11 to 15 and 10 percent in years 16 to 20.
If the team were sold and moved, the NFL would retain the Vikings' "heritage and records, including the name, logo, colors, history, playing records, trophies, and memorabilia."
The Vikings would also have exclusive rights to a Major League Soccer team in the stadium during the first five years of the lease.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Vikings stadium bill passes Senate, 36-30
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