Reporting Pat Kessler
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As some senior level Vikings officials spend time in London, there are questions here at home about the future of the new Vikings stadium.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for November, but final negotiations about developments and the stadium lease have been postponed Friday until next week.
This is the second time final deals have been delayed. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen has now pushed back their final urgent deadlines for negotiations twice. The team says they will be locked into this lease for 30 years, which is why they’re taking their time.
“The team, which has been saying it is concerned about the delay, ironically has caused a fair amount of this delay,” Kelm-Helgen said.
One topic still up for debate is how many personal seat licenses to grant. Governor Mark Dayton has pressed the authority to keep the number of seat licenses, which can cost thousands of dollars each, to a minimum.
The money from that is expected to count toward the $477 million private share of the $975 million stadium cost. On Friday, Dayton said he has no idea what’s taking so long.
“I have no inside information. I have no direct responsibility or involvement with the negotiations with the Vikings,” Dayton said. ”That’s in the hands of stadium authority and their staff.”
WCCO asked the MSFA and the Vikings if the almost $85 million settlement the Vikings owners were ordered to pay played a role in this delay. The team told WCCO ‘No,’ but the MSFA said they could not comment.
In a statement from London, Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said team officials are “working very hard’ to get all the details lined up.
“Each agreement is hundreds of pages and very detailed,” Bagley said. “No major problems or disputes, just a ton of work. Bottom line, everything is on track.”
Despite the delay, the groundbreaking on the stadium is still scheduled to start in November.