Friday big day in Vikings stadium progress

10:34 PM, Nov 19, 2013   |    comments
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HKS Vikings stadium design

MINNEAPOLIS - When it comes to the construction of the new Vikings stadium, what happens Friday is expected to give the project a much needed green light.

"Friday is kind of a big day on many fronts," said Michele Kelm-Helgen, Chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

First, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority or MSFA and Mortenson Construction will officially agree on what's called a guaranteed maximum price. Essentially, Mortenson promises to build the stadium for X amount of dollars, anything over that number it will cover.

"The construction firm will then take on the risk for the construction of the building and that's a good thing for the state," said Kelm-Helgen.

As soon as that deal is approved, the real work begins.

"They'll be able to right after that, probably on Friday or maybe Monday they'll order the steel that is needed. That is probably the biggest thing that will have to be done right away," she said.

Kelm-Helgen says Mortenson has already scaled back its plans after projected costs were coming in over budget; some reports had it as high as $25 million over.

"The significant features that we've designed, we've kept all of that. It's things like the type of paint that's being used, the type of flooring that's being used," she said. "They are things the average person would never notice in the building.

She assures the public the costs are back in line and construction is on schedule. Demolition begins Jan. 20 with the new stadium set to open the summer of 2016.  

Also Friday, the Vikings will close on its financing, which is $477 million toward the stadium. That means the state will then be able to sell bonds starting in December or January, according to Kelm-Helgen, to come up with its nearly $350 million portion.

The city of Minneapolis will pay $150 million. The Vikings offered to pay $13 million more for the project, if needed. That money does not include about $60 million of contingency money between Mortenson and MSFA that could pay for any cost overruns.

If certain benchmarks are met along the way and that contingency money is not needed, Kelm-Helgen says the money can be used to put certain things that were cut out back into the stadium.

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