Outside stadium development still in works

While the design of the new stadium was unveiled Monday night, the area surrounding the stadium, from parking to skyway linkage, is still a work in progress.

The Vikings' stadium design unveiling caused a flood of reaction from near and far.

Many liked the design, especially the sightlines of the Minneapolis skyline from inside the stadium given the translucent polymer used to create the look of a glass stadium. Some weren't thrilled with the look of the stadium from the exterior.

But, overall, the unveiling was a success by most standards. Locally, it was received rather well. Nationally, the Vikings and Minnesota were lauded for the unique look to a United States stadium.

Still, the work is far from done.

Lead designer Bryan Trubey of HKS Sports & Entertainment Group admitted that there just wasn't time to reveal all the details, especially when it comes to the interior, at Monday night's presentation. What we know so far: It will be 1.6 million square feet (nearly twice the size of the Metrodome), have FieldTurf, seven levels, translucent pivoting doors 95 feet high, concourses nearly twice as wide as the Metrodome's, more bathrooms, and views of the field from nearly every angle on the concourse. In other words, it is the anti-Metrodome.

But outside, there is still work to be done. Parking is one of the unresolved issues to date, but Monday will mark the start of getting that solved. That is the date when requests for proposals are due to the stadium authority.

"That is the one piece that we have different options for solutions. But we haven't refined what the exact plan will be," said Michele Kelm-Helgen of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. "But by May 20, when we get the proposals in, we'll be able to specify more specifically what the parking plan will be.

"It will definitely have the spots that are required by the legislation that need to be connected by skyway or some kind of underground tunnel or something. Those 2,000 spots that are required to be connected by legislation will be included and then there is another 500 that have to have some sort of ingress and egress walkway or something like that. But we will satisfy all the requirements of the legislation."

Trubey said that one of the skyways coming into the stadium will enter over 4th Street South, but linking the new stadium to the skyway system hasn't been finalized yet either.

Land surrounding the stadium, currently owned by the Star Tribune, is up for sale, but Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president of stadium development told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that is up to the Ryan Companies to develop, although the Vikings are supportive of redevelopment surrounding the stadium.

The timing of the outside parking and development is yet to be determined, but some of it will be visible from inside the stadium because of the building's translucent walls and doors, as well as the ceiling. That was essentially a compromise for a retractable roof that, if it followed trends of other stadiums with retractable roofs, would only be open about one-third of the time.

"We really looked at so many different options and we really tried as hard as we could what would be included in the building. But it became clear that if people wanted to have a view of the city and want to actually be able to have a building that included the sort of view sheds that they've become used to with something like Target Field, that actually all that glass and those 50 doors were going to give people much better opportunity than if there would be kind of like a sunroof in your car, just an opening in the roof where you could look up and see sky," Kelm-Helgen said. "But on an hour-to-hour basis I think we're going to get a lot more for fans and all the people using those with having all that glass in the front of the building that opens to the skyline downtown."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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