Vikings bump stadium share past $500 million

The Vikings have committed up to an extra $41.1 million to the stadium project to ensure "features that are so important to all users of the stadium remain in this project," according to team owner/president Mark Wilf.

The Minnesota Vikings said Friday they will increase their contribution to a new stadium to more than $500 million to make sure the project has everything they want.

The team had been scheduled to pay $477 million of the stadium's nearly billion-dollar cost. But bids coming in higher than expected made the Vikings worry about losing distinctive design features and having to settle for less than top-end technology, such as ribbon scoreboards and high-definition televisions in concourses.

"The only options were to whack the project, cut significantly back in the building, step back and redesign and try to redraw to a lower number or have the team put in more money," Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said. "That's what our owners decided to do."

The overall stadium cost now exceeds $1 billion, with $498 million in public money. Legislators approved the new stadium to replace the Metrodome out of concern that the Vikings could leave the state. Ceremonial groundbreaking is set for next month, with opening in 2016.

The Vikings were closing on their private financing on Friday. They are using loans, seat license sales and other private revenue streams.

The Vikings' extra contribution comes in the form of a letter of credit. The contingency would be tapped if construction officials can't find savings elsewhere.

But the attempt to shave costs has been unsuccessful so far.

Stadium authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said the rising costs are a sign of an improving economy.

"The good news construction is up. The bad news is construction is up and some of our bids were coming in higher than anticipated," she said.


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