The Minnesota Vikings are moving forward with their plans to move team headquarters from Winter Park in Eden Prairie to Eagan, but zoning and city council approval remain issues on the near horizon.
With the organization growing and forced to have offices in three locations – at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, across the street in an office building and in downtown Minneapolis – because of property constraints at the Winter Park location, the Vikings are hoping to consolidate and update their facilities with a mixed-use property in Eagan at the site of the old Northwest Airlines headquarters at the corner of I-494 and Lone Oak Parkway.
Winter Park’s property has 15 acres, with 12.8 acres of that usable and the other portion dedicated wetlands. The new property would, if approved, would be 194 acres and include the team headquarters, three practice fields, an outdoor stadium that would hold 7,000-10,000 fans and could be used for high school and community events, an indoor practice facility with much of it surrounded by office buildings, a hotel with 120-150 rooms and a conference center of couple hundred thousand square feet.
In total, the new property is approximately 3 million square feet.
“We are just really out of space here,” Vikings COO Kevin Warren said while standing in a conference room at Winter Park normally used as a coaches meeting room. “It’s really important that we bring all of our employees under one roof and to have enough space to grow. … It’s been wonderful being in Eden Prairie for 30-plus years.”
The Vikings have a purchase agreement in place for the old Northwest Airlines headquarters and an adjacent property and continue their due diligence on the project, with Warren calling it “a fluid process.”
On Sept. 21, the City of Eagan will hold a city advisory hearing and on Oct. 6 the City Council is expected to hear and potentially approve the plan as a whole. The Vikings submitted the sketches and a narrative of their plan for the property on Aug. 28. The property is currently zoned for office space and the Vikings would be seeking a rezoning to mixed use.
“This going to be our home potentially in Eagan,” said Lester Bagley, the executive vice president of public affairs and stadium development.
If all is approved in short order by Eagan, the Vikings could be in their new facility in two to three years, but overall development of the property could be on a 10- or 15-year plan.
With an outdoor stadium that would hold 7,000 or more, the expectation is that the Vikings would no longer hold training camp in Mankato after their recently renewed contract with Mankato expires following the 2018 training camp.