Vikings Stadium construction manager candidates down to two

The stadium authority released a couple of conceptual designs submitted by HKS for the Vikings facility. Officials cautioned the actual stadium will likely look quite different and that the design process is just beginning. The public will be invited to weigh in, and once a construction manager is hired, costs will start being attached to design ideas. Drawings of the actual stadium plan are expected to be ready in January or February.

A Minneapolis firm is one of two still under consideration to become construction manager for the $975 million Minnesota Vikings stadium project.

Mortenson Construction remains in the running along with Hunt Construction of Scottsdale, Ariz., the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority announced Thursday, Feb. 7.

The authority had been expected to name a construction manager Friday, but instead officials narrowed the list Thursday and said they would shoot for the end of next week to announce the final selection.

Authority officials initially said they would announce their pick Jan. 25. Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the five-member authority, said the delay doesn't pose problems with the schedule.

"We actually have a little bit of time," she said.


Officials need another week or so to study both proposals and nail down contract terms, scope of work and other issues.

Mortenson has built most of the high-profile stadiums in the Twin Cities area, including Target Field, Target Center, TCF Bank Stadium and the Xcel Energy Center.

Hunt was construction manager for Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, home of the Colts. That stadium has been a model for what the Vikings have said they're looking for in the new facility. Hunt also provided design-build services for University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals.

Hunt is partnering with a local firm, Kraus-Anderson Construction of Minneapolis, on its Vikings stadium proposal.

Eliminated from the running Thursday was Skanska of Parsippany, N.J., which has built stadiums for the New York Giants and Jets, the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans.

The authority still is scheduled to meet Friday and will vote on a plan to reserve 20 percent of the work in the stadium's construction phase for women- and minority-owned businesses in Minnesota.

Once a construction manager is on board, Kelm-Helgen said she expects a decision on whether to put a retractable roof on the stadium -- instead of a fixed one -- "by March or April."

That decision is needed fairly early because it affects how the structure of the facility is built, she said. Deciding to add a retractable feature such as a wall probably could wait a bit longer, she said.


Money for any retractable element would have to be found from savings in other areas of the project, team and authority officials have said.

Kelm-Helgen said a schematic design for the stadium is expected in mid- to late March. The construction manager would be expected to deliver a guaranteed maximum price for the project some time this summer, and groundbreaking would start in October.

The stadium is scheduled to be complete by July 2016, in time for the team to start playing there that fall.

Kelm-Helgen said it's most likely that the Vikings would play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 and 2015 and that the Metrodome would be torn down after the 2013 season.

She said "we're really close" to solving a design wrinkle that's come up: The Vikings want football fans close to the field, but their preferred design makes right field too close to home plate for baseball teams that also will be using the field. Kelm-Helgen said the architect, team and authority are looking at a couple of options and expect to decide soon. Even though the Minnesota Twins are gone, the Metrodome hosts several amateur baseball events, including colleges games in the winter and spring.

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said the team is strongly interested in having the new stadium linked to downtown by skyway so visitors could make their way to and from the game indoors if the weather is bad.

"The Super Bowl is a prime example," he said. The team is pushing to host the Super Bowl in 2018.

Kelm-Helgen said skyways are a possibility, if sufficient development fills in around the new stadium.


Kelm-Helgen also said a potential legal wrinkle related to state financing appears to be resolved. She said she's been told by Minnesota Management and Budget that a recent state Supreme Court decision will allow the use of appropriation bonds for the stadium, as planned.

"That was really, I think, good news for the project, so we don't have to be held up by that," she said.

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