In an effort to jump-start the lagging Vikings stadium debate, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which owns and operates the 27-year-old Metrodome, unveiled today a new $853 million retractable-roofed concept that re-uses some of the Dome’s foundation.
The design, developed by architects at Ellerbe Becket, would, literally, turn the stadium around, reorienting the current north-south football field to an east-west configuration. It would widen concourses, add 8,000 club seats and increase suites from 99 to 150.
According to stadium consultant CSL, the “reconstruction” would generate $32 million in new premium seating, signage, naming rights and ticket revenues over the current Metrodome revenue streams.
The Vikings’ lease at the Dome expires after the 2011 season. Vikings stadium executive Lester Bagley said the plan, and especially the financial projections, “require further study … We need to get this resolved sooner, rather than later, or this franchise is going to be in jeopardy.”
One issue: The Vikings would have to play elsewhere, probably at the new University of Minnesota stadium, for two seasons.
A plan to seek approval at the Legislature for a new stadium in 2007 was cut short when the I-35 bridge collapsed barely a mile from the Dome.