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The Deets: Destroy the 511 Building to build a Vikings stadium? Not smart

The little-known 511 building is essentially Grand Central Station for Internet traffic in Minnesota, housing at least 32 broadband service providers.

The 511 Building. You’ve probably driven past it numerous times, on your way in/out of downtown Minneapolis to/from I-94 between 5th & 6th streets, but may not know what happens inside.

Lester Bagley, Ted Mondale, and the rest of the Minnesota Vikings Wilfare queens may not care what happens inside. For the rest of us, proposing destroying the 511 Building so a Vikings stadium could be build next door to the Metrodome (while the team continues to play at the Dome) is probably the dumbest stadium site idea to date.

Why? Because we all depend on what happens in that building. There is a good chance you wouldn’t be able to read this right now if it wasn’t for the 511 Building.

The issue here is that the 511 building is essentially Grand Central Station for Internet traffic in Minnesota.

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This building sits on the Internet Backbone. At least 32 broadband service providers provide access in/out of this building. If you wanted to take down the internet in Minnesota, this would be the place to do it. Among the services provided within this building:

  • Backup Data Centers
  • Offsite Data Recovery
  • Collocation / Internet / Dark fiber
  • Multi-tenant telecommunication switching
  • Fiber network service providers
  • Optical Cable Backbones
  • Meeting rooms / Web rooms

Here is a list of companies, governments, and educational institutions who currently have connections into the building:

Internet Service Providers:
360 Networks, AT&T, Charter Communications, Cogent, Comcast, Global Crossing, Integra, Level 3, Qwest, Sprint, University of MN–Internet 2, US Internet, Verizon, and XO Communications.

Telecom Broadband & CLEC Providers:
360 Networks, 702 Communications, AT&T, Avant-Guarde, CenturyTel, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, CitiLink Communications, Comcast, Cooperative Network Services, Dakota Carrier Network, Enventis Telecom, Frontier Communications, Global Capacity Group, Global Crossing, Hiawatha Broadband, Hickory Tech, Integra Telecom, Iowa Telecom, ipHouse, KDL (Norlight), Level 3, LightCore, LightEdge Solutions, MyTelepath, Neutral Tandem, Nextera, OneNet USA, Online of Minnesota, Onvoy, PAETEC, Paul Bunyan Telephone, Peerless Network, Qwest, Sellox, SHAL Networks, Solarus, SDN Communications, Sprint, SpiraLight Network, TDS Metrocom, Telecom Transport Management, tw telecom, US Cable, Wisconsin Independent Networks, Velocity Telephone, Verizon, Windstream, XO Communications, Telesphere Networks and Zayo.

Cable TV & Broadband:
Ascent Media, Charter Communications, Comcast, Pacific Northwest Net, Savage Communications, and US Cable.

Cellular Providers:
Alltel-Midwest Wireless, AT&T, Clearwire, Sprint-Nextel, TMobile and Verizon,

WIFI/Wireless Providers:
CitiLink Communications, Clearwire, Genesis Wireless,, Nextera Wireless, and USI Wireless

Local Government:
State of Minnesota-OET, MnDOT, WisDOT, Dakota County, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Scott County, Washington County, City of Maple Grove, City of Minneapolis, City of Roseville, City of St. Paul, City of North St. Paul, City of Woodbury, LOGIS, and Metropolitan Council

University and K-12:
AGL Consulting, Augsburg, Bethel, Hamline, Maclester, MNSCU, TIES, and University of Minnesota.

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Metro Dark Fiber Providers:
Access Communications, American Fibers Systems, FWR Communication Networks, and PAETEC – McLeodUSA

ASPs / Others:
Ability Commerce, Alerus, Marketing Concepts, Netgain, Orbit Systems, Revelation Network Management, Suburban Radiology, Sungard Data Services, Renovo Software, Warner Connect

Put another way: The 511 building does more for Minnesota’s economy than the Vikings have or ever will. Messing with it on behalf of a New Jersey businessman would be painfully stupid.

The idea of building a stadium while the Metrodome is still used isn’t a bad idea. But, if it’s going to be built next to the Metrodome, it should be built on the StarTribune’s property (much of the land between the Dome and the heart of downtown). Relocating the Strib would be easy compared to moving the 511 Building.

Still, the smarter plan is to simply renovate the Metrodome. Based on what was done in Vancouver at BC Place, it can be done in 19 months (one NFL season relocation). Savings by renovating compared to building from scratch: More than $400 million of the public’s money.

This post was written by Ed Kohler and originally published on The Deets. Follow Ed on Twitter: @edkohler.