Ellerbe Becket Details Proposal to Renovate Metrodome For Football
Wednesday, August 9, 2000

At a news conference on Wednesday, August 9 at the Minneapolis Hilton, the architectural firm Ellerbe Becket detailed their proposal to renovate the Metrodome for football. Their study analyzed what it would take to get the Vikings to the average of the National Football League in terms of stadium revenue.

David Murphy, theproject architect for this study, said their firm found that the cost of renovation would be equal to or greater than the cost of building a new facility.

"For the past year or two, actually before the change in ownership, we have been trying to provide people with the understanding that the team has some real financial difficulties (with the Metrodome)," said Vikings Executive Vice President Mike Kelly. "In 1999, we were close to the bottom of the NFL in revenue, approximately $10 million below the leagueaverage. By 2004, we’re projected to be 30thout of 32 teams in the league, approximately $20 million below the league average."

In May of 1999, the Vikings provided the MSFC with the minimum requirements needed to bring the team close to the NFL average in stadium revenue. The MSFC’s first proposal, which would cost approximately $159 million, did not make any improvements for the team’s revenue shortfall. The Vikings would actually lose seating in this proposal, and would face a shortagein suites, bathrooms, and concessions. Parking was not even addressed.

In January of 2000, the MSFC came forward with a second football-only proposal. Many of the same issues remained problematic in the second proposed renovation. The plan, which would cost $226 million, did not include elements needed to alleviate the Vikings’ revenue shortfall. There would be limited advertising and signage opportunities,sub-standard deluxe seating, inadequate parking, and a shortage of sideline seating. Suite opportunities were also inadequate, with the plan calling for 48 of the proposed suites to be placed near the top of the Metrodome.

At today’s news conference, Ellerbe Becket revealed their study of what it would take to bring the Vikings up to the NFL average in revenue through renovation. Their research showed that it wouldcost approximately $358 million for renovation costs, with an additional $60 million tacked on for building a parking structure. The renovation would also require that the Metrodome be vacated for one or two football seasons while construction was completed. And the Vikings do not have a viable alternative facility during that period.

With the cost of building a new facility between $350-425 million, the renovation of the Metrodome is not economically feasible for thefollowing reasons:

Kelly emphasized that the team worked for 1 ½ years with the MSFC before exhausting the renovation option. Unfortunately, it is simply not feasible to pursue a Metrodome renovation for football.

"We didn’t reject renovation out of hand," said Kelly. "To the contrary, we were of the opinion in the organization that if we could find a renovation solution that would make sense, it would be a lot lesspainful for everyone than to work on new stadium construction."

The Vikings will now work to build support and consensus for a solution that makes sense for the state and the community.

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