The secret history of the Vikings stadium and Wells Fargo deals

 

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak (MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson)

Mpls St. Paul magazine has an exit interview with Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak out. It has a very interesting thread regarding the Vikings stadium deal. It starts with Rybak’s alarm that the team was entertaining a move to Arden Hills, then walks through the politics of turning the team owners back to Minneapolis.

Steve Marsh asked Rybak about the plans, at Arden Hills and the Basilica, that once competed against the Metrodome site.

“Our deal was better. So we came up with this deal and it basically said let us get control of our sales taxes and allow us to do these things. Also, there was a lot going on. And eventually we got it done. So now let’s look at the scenario. So people said, “Well we’ll do that, but one of the big problems is nothing will ever be built over there by the stadium.” While all that was happening, I went to the Star Tribune. Back when I worked there, and when I was at the downtown council, there were these grandiose plans to do five-block developments and they were never going anywhere. And so I said, “You’re going to have a window of time in which if there’s something going here we can move this thing forward, but you’re going to have to get a developer on board, we’re going to have to think big. And the key to it all is the parking ramp. We’re gonna build a parking ramp, and if it’s empty on non game days, it’ll be a loss. But if we can put something next to it and generate revenue, we could do something.” So they brought in Ryan. And Ryan began working on it.”

He goes on to explain the Wells Fargo deal in more detail. It’s quite a ways down in the interview, but very much worth the read.