Hi gang, sorry I've been incognito over the last week or so--just having a heckuva time trying to find some stuff to write about.
And the saga that is the Vikings quest for a new stadium seems to be just the slump buster I need to get out of this funk. So I go back to you, stadium saga, like a fat chick at last call. I'm desperate to write, you're desperate to have your story told, let's get out of here.
So, where do we stand today, with the Legislature in session and time running out?
Well, if we are to believe The Godfather, the only site that is now under serious consideration is the site adjacent to the Metrodome. Not the Metrodome site, not the Basilica, not Arden Hills, but the site adjacent to the Metrodome.
The advantage to that is that most, or at least a good part of, the new stadium could be built around the Metrodome, and it would only require the VIkings to play one season, 2015, at TCF Bank Stadium. It's also good that they are focusing solely on one site, because really, it's long past time to settle on a site and get to the brass tacks and get something done.
And if you want an idea of how they would build a stadium adjacent to an existing one, click on this link here. It's a pretty cool time-lapse of Busch stadium in St. Louis being built adjacent to the old one, and how they partially built the new one to a point, and then demolished the old one while finishing the new stadium.
But wait, THERE'S MORE!! After the jump.
That's the good news. And because we're dealing with the Vikings trying to get a new stadium, we can't have good news without bad news.
The bad news is that the new location currently houses what's called the 511 building. And what does the 511 building do, exactly? Well, if you live in Minnesota, or probably the upper Midwest, you're not reading this without the 511 building. Here, let me let Curtis Gilbert of Minnesota Public Radio explain, from this column:
The 511 building is what's called a "carrier hotel." It's a nexus where telephone and Internet networks intersect — both with each other and with the rest of the world.
Without a carrier hotel people on one phone or data network couldn't communicate with people on another one, said Eric Lampland, a member of a small group of technology gurus who helped build the Internet in Minnesota in the early 1990s.
And, according to the article, that's the only 'carrier hotel' in Minnesota. Now, could another carrier hotel be built in time to handle the load of all the Internet traffic in the Upper Midwest by 2015? Yeah, I suppose, but I am by no means an expert on that. But you would think before they bulldoze the 511 building for the stadium, they'd have that figured out.
Arden Hills isn't giving up on their plan. They're still working on a way to come up with their part of the money, since anything that includes a tax increase is a non-starter in the legislature. And while they're still trying to figure that out, they have awarded a $20.6 million clean up contract for the TCAAP site, a first step in getting the land prepared to build a stadium on. Arden Hills seems to be positioning themselves as a 'last case' option, as in nobody will be able to agree on a spot in Minneapolis, and then they can jump in and go 'we're ready to go'.
All they need is a financing plan that has no tax increases and federal funding for the clean up.
And finally, in a "we're only kidding but you know, we might be on to something here if it wasn't totally ludicrous" kind of way, state senator Sen Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, is suggesting that the Vikings build there stadium in...wait for it...WAIT FOR IT...Duluth.
Now Reinert realizes this has about a 0.000000000000001% chance of becoming reality, but at least there's somebody doing something to try and get a stadium built somewhere.
There's still no done deal, and I don't think there's any assurances at all that this will be done anytime soon, but that's where we sit right now.
Put on your seat belt, because it's going to be a bumpy ride.