It was far from an easy decision. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority had to choose between two construction firms – both with a local connection – to serve as construction manager for the new multi-purpose stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
But officials with the sports facilities authority considered themselves fortunate to face such a tough decision, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, the authority’s chairman.
“It was a really difficult decision. We had to choose between two incredibly well-qualified firms,” Kelm-Helgen said during a telephone interview. “We were lucky to have two firms that had all this experience in building sports facilities competing for the business.”
In the end, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and Minnesota Vikings chose Mortenson Construction as the construction manager that will build the Vikings’ new multi-purpose stadium in Minneapolis.
Mortenson, based in Golden Valley, Minn., was competing with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Hunt Construction, in final interviews for the job. Hunt had partnered with Kraus-Anderson, based in Minneapolis, to give it a Twin Cities presence, too.
Mortenson, though, emerged after the final interviews as the right choice, Kelm-Helgen said.
“We really believe that Mortenson is the best firm the for job,” she said. “The company has 24 years of experience in building stadiums. Mortenson has built more than 100 sports and entertainment venues across the country. They were also very competitive and aggressive with their price. That allows us to put as much money as possible into the building of the stadium.”
Not surprisingly, officials with Mortenson were thrilled with the decision.
“We are honored to be selected as the construction manager for this tremendous project in our home town,” said John Wood, senior vice president at Mortenson, in a written statement. “This stadium will be built for Minnesota by Minnesotans.”
The new stadium, once work on it begins, will become the largest construction project in Minnesota. According to Mortenson, it should take about 4.25 million work hours and 7,500 workers to complete the stadium.
Kelm-Helgen said that the new stadium should provide an economic boost to downtown Minneapolis. She said that her office has already heard from companies interested in bringing commercial development to the neighborhood surrounding the stadium.
“I think it will generate a lot of ancillary economic development opportunities,” Kelm-Helgen said. “That was the intention of the governor and the legislature when they cleared the way for this stadium project. There is a lot of interest in development surrounding the new stadium. Now that a decision has been made and we all know that the new stadium will be there, I think you’ll see a great deal of development in this area in the next few years.”
The Minnesota state legislature and the Minneapolis City Council in May of last year approved funding for the new multi-purpose stadium, a stadium that will cost $975 million. The facility is scheduled to open for the 2016 NFL season. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will own and operate the new stadium.
Kelm-Helgen sees an important difference between the Metrodome, where the Vikings currently play, and the new stadium.
The Metrodome is closed off to the public. It sits in on its site – where the new stadium will soon rise – but doesn’t connect to the surrounding neighborhood.
That will change with the new stadium. Kelm-Helgen says that the stadium will include plenty of windows and transparent fabrics, giving passersby more of a connection to the facility. The new stadium will open, too, onto neighborhood plaza spaces, and hiking and walking trails will connect the facility to the rest of the community.
“The current Metrodome sits as an isolated structure,” Kelm-Helgen said. “You can’t see in and you can’t see out.”