There has been an endless, ongoing nagging issue here in Minnesota. The Minnesota Vikings football organization is coming to the end of its lease at the Metrodome and is looking for a new stadium. The problem is nobody has any money to build it. The cost is well over a billion dollars. The individual net worth of the Viking’s owner, Zygi Wolf, is half that. What does that mean? Prior to 2007 Wolf would have had no problem borrowing 15 billion dollars to build his stadium on the moon. In today’s market, he needs help from the state.
I can understand the viability of a state partnership. I think Wolf needs to understand the concept. Right now he wants to build in the suburb of Arden Hills not only a stadium but also a commercial and office district with residential living. Basically, he wants it all. He’s like a teenager who wants a brand new sports car for his birthday. Naturally, his parents are going to let him drive their used Kia.
If Wolf really wants to build his dream, he needs to get creative and create a destination point much along the lines of Disney’s Celebration in Florida, which has the aesthetic design of a small town in the 50’s with the benefit of modern day crime. But instead of a town square and a soda shop, Wolf should ask himself what it means to be a Viking.
By chance there is already a Viking Village in Wolf’s home state of New Jersey. In Barnegat Light visitors can go back into time and experience life of a small fishing village that still has the tourist’s comforts of antique and jewelry shopping. Plus, shoppers can indulge in gourmet coffee and fruit smoothies along with traditional mead and roasted reindeer.
Speaking of tradition, I think Wolf should go old school and take his Viking Village to the 800’s. One benefit would be the cost. Look at the above photo as a possible stadium design. I bet it wouldn’t be more than a few million dollars and could probably go up in a weekend with the help of some Amish farmers. Besides, the attraction wouldn’t be so much the buildings as the amenities. For not only will members be able to live the authentic Viking experience in a wooden lean-to, they will also have exclusive rights to:
- A special easement to the Mississippi river where they can launch raids on neighboring suburbs.
- A half acre of land where they can practice overgrazing and unsustainable farming techniques.
- Access to Vikings headquarters where they can “cut” under-performing players.
- Expeditions into Newfoundland with the possibility of establishing a new NFL franchise.
- A lifetime supply of whale blubber and Dome Dogs.
- Property tax exemption from the state and no association fees.
I guaranty the last bullet point will make Zygiville successful even if the team never wins another game.
Photo courtesy of Malene Thyssen