CHICAGO – The public agency created to own and operate the new $975 million Minnesota Vikings stadium installed the head of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, Ted Mondale, to serve as its chief executive officer during its first meeting Friday.
Mondale, a former state legislator and the son of former vice president Walter Mondale, aided Gov. Mark Dayton in shepherding the stadium package that included public funding for the National Football League team’s new stadium through the legislative process.
The legislation included the creation of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which will own, design, construct, and operate the new stadium in collaboration with the Vikings. The authority will also take over the responsibilities of the sports facilities commission, which owns and operates the Vikings current stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Dayton early last year tapped Mondale to lead the commission. Mondale will be paid an annual salary of $157,000.
The 65,000-seat stadium is to be built adjacent to the 30-year-old Metrodome, open in time for the 2016 NFL season, and be available to host other public sporting and entertainment events. The team would sign a 30-year lease and retain naming rights.
The legislation authorizes the issuance of up to $498 million of state appropriation bonds. The state would repay its $348 million share of the costs for the project with new revenue from expanded gambling, including electronic pull-tab gaming and bingo.
The state borrowing would cover both its share and the city’s $150 million contribution. The city will make annual payments to Minnesota beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2046. The city will use revenues from various hospitality and sales taxes that now go to repay its convention center debt. The team will contribute $477 million.
The state is awaiting a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court to validate its ability to use an appropriation pledge. The new authority will enter into a grant agreement with the state for the public share of the stadium’s cost.
Dayton swore in the board members at the Friday meeting. They include his three picks for the board, Michele Kelm-Helgen, who was a Dayton deputy chief of staff; John Griffith, a Target Corp. executive; and former state senator Duane Benson. Kelm-Helgen will chair the board
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s two appointments to the board are Barbara Butts Williams, dean of the School of Education at Capella University, and Bill McCarthy, president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation.
A stadium overview was presented at the authority’s first meeting outlining an initial funding commitment of $50 million from each the state and the team. The team will pay an initial annual rent of $8.5 million and the city will pay an initial $6 million. The team and city will pay an initial $1.5 million annually to fund future capital expenses and repairs.
The Vikings had long pressed for public funding for a new stadium, warning that only with a new, more profitable venue could they remain competitive and remain in Minnesota. In recent years its former Metrodome co-tenants — the Minnesota Twins baseball team and University of Minnesota Gophers football team — won public financial help for their new venues.