Look at Vikings Stadium Proposals This Way

One Minneapolis Stadium Concept

Does it make sense to start from scratch when people have already invested in businesses in places like Minneapolis and St. Paul?  Why not support a plan that would benefit existing local business rather than roll the dice on a proposal that will dilute demand for office, retail, and entertainment real estate?

Personally I think a development anchored by a football stadium in Arden Hills will flop.  I can’t imagine gathering a group of people mid-summer and suggest heading to a sprawling expanse of stadium and office complexes for a fun night out at theme restaurants.  But that’s just me.

But let’s presume enough people find that sort of thing attractive.  Let’s play make believe.  Let’s say people will eagerly want to locate their business offices at the Vikings’ complex and entertain their families there year around.

Right now there are local businesses struggling to survive in our existing down towns and existing office space sits vacant.  If public dollars are going to support a private business like the National Football League and the Vikings, shouldn’t it be done in a way that will best support local business that has already invested its own money in our economy?

The big question that is not being asked is why Zygi Wilf is so eager to have a site in Arden Hills rather than a comparable one in a place like Minneapolis.  Don’t forget that Zygi Wilf is a developer.  Right now is not the best time for developers.  If you could get a state of taxpayers to help underwrite your costs, wouldn’t you be more willing to take a risk on development?

It is bad enough that a successful industry like the NFL expects tax payers fund part of its development.  In essence it is a bidding war among cities for the privilege to let that business operate in a city.  I get that.  If we’re going to pay these franchise fees to the NFL, shouldn’t we fight for deal that is best for us?  It is hard to see how the Arden Hills site is the best for Minnesota.


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