Stadium negotiators now say they have “grave concerns” about the viability of the Linden Ave. site for a prospective new Vikings stadium. That’s the 30-acre option just north of the Basilica of St. Mary.
Several people familiar with the talks, but who did not want to be named, said that new doubts have arisen over whether the city of Minneapolis has the political support to sell a key part of the site — the city’s Currie Avenue public works facility.
Rep. Morrie Lanning, R- Moorhead, is expected to be the House author of a stadium bill. He says he’s still waiting for a definitive statement about whether or not Minneapolis is willing to sell.
“We understand that there was different legal opinions.” he said in an interview today. He said one would require a 9-vote majority on the council to sell the property for a stadium. Another would require a simple majority.
“We’ve known all along that there are some key issues there that may prove to be problematic and may really make that site an impossible thing to pursue,” Lanning said. “But I have not had any official word from the city of Minneapolis yet, even though I’ve heard through other sources that there may be some definitive answers to at least one of the questions that we knew was there.”
He stopped short of saying the site was dead: “I haven’t been told that it’s officially off the table yet.”
But he also but pointed out that the city may only be one of the “significant” obstacles to the site.
“The Basilica is another very important issue,” Lanning said. “I don’t think anyone wants to do battle with the church. That’s not a very welcoming kind of challenge to have. But those who have had conversations there know its going to be a tough sell there.”
City council president Barbara Johnson did not return calls about the potential snag. A spokesman for Mayor R.T. Rybak would not confirm whether the land sale issue was blocking Linden Avenue.
The Minneapolis council is set to meet on the issue on Thursday, and could show their willingness — or lack thereof — to make way for a stadium then.