June 03 2013

Impact of Sports Facilities: Unveiling the New $975 million Football Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota

On May 13, 2013, the schematic design for the new Vikings Football Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota was unveiled to the public. The total project cost of this 65,000 seat stadium is set at $975 million, with $498 million being split between the City of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota. With the 2010 opening of yet another multi-million dollar project, the Target Field baseball park, in downtown Minneapolis, one cannot help but wonder about the actual impact and the ability of sports facilities to serve as urban redevelopment catalysts.

Proposed Design of New Vikings Stadium

Proponents of sports facilities have justified public expenditures on these projects, declaring that these exorbitant projects are initiators of redevelopment in major downtown areas at the district level. Almost all of the existing literature has determined that sports facilities are poor investments and unworthy of public sector efforts and dollars. Despite massive evidence that sports facilities are not the metropolitan economic development engines that they are made out to be, cities continue to build them.

Nevertheless, in some cases, stadiums have contributed in the establishment of districts. For instance, the local example of the Target Field baseball park brought forth the onset of the newly acclaimed North Loop district, which has since been swarming with new development from modern condos to upscale boutiques, as well as posh entertainment and eating spots. However, it has been shown that even given the successful redevelopment of a district, the tremendous costs associated with new sports facilities usually minimizes any chance for a positive economic return from these projects. Not to mention the lack of any actual activity for residents of that particular district or city. In addition, long and short-term urban planning and engineering concerns regarding traffic flow, pedestrian safety, and the environment are only a few of the major effects the city is going to have to remedy.

Target Field Baseball Park

The only thing that can be said and concluded from previous studies is that if public dollars continue to be invested toward new sports facilities, then new district development is one positive outcome that can result from such an exorbitant project.

Do you think that sports facilities can indeed serve as urban redevelopment catalysts? Can you provide an example from your city where that has been the case?

Photograph by Jasna Hadzic. Data and image linked to sources.

Jasna Hadzic

Born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but having spent most of her adult life in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.; Jasna Hadzic has been greatly influenced by both cultures, most specifically in terms of architecture, planning, and design. The transition of living in a small European pedestrian-oriented city to a large and vehicle-oriented American city greatly influenced her interest in the field of planning. She came to appreciate the vibrant, culturally diverse and faster-pace of life, while also looking toward her native city as a paradigm of sustainable living with traditional architecture, multi-modal transportation systems, and pedestrian-friendly spaces and streets. A recent Master’s graduate in Community and Regional Planning and G.I.S from Iowa State University, Jasna’s Thesis focused on the analysis of the built environment and demographic factors that influence physical activity, while examining street connectivity and infrastructure. In addition, Jasna holds a B.E.D. in Environmental Design, with a minor in Urban Studies, from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Her most recent work experience as a Planning Research Assistant at the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, as well as volunteer work with the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has exposed her to new city projects, as well as community engagement. Her career goal is to not only work directly on sustainable urban design projects, but to also ensure equitable and sustainable planning practices.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2013 at 9:48 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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2 Responses to “Impact of Sports Facilities: Unveiling the New $975 million Football Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota”

  1. Laura Says:

    Indianapolis, Indiana had a similar development with Lucas Oil Stadium (where the Colts play) that broke ground in 2005. It’s overall cost was about $720 million. The old stadium was torn down to make room for expansion of the Indianapolis Convention Center. In 2012 Indy hosted its first ever Super Bowl, which has spurred numerous redevelopments throughout various areas of downtown. Now, Indianapolis is exploring public transit in order to provide better options for people who wish to live/work/visit downtown. I don’t think any of these developments would have occurred as quickly as they did without the completion of Lucas Oil.

  2. Ed Kohler Says:

    30 years with the Metrodome showed up that stadiums don’t drive development. There are plans for new developments near the new Vikings stadium, but it seems likely that those plans are in spite of the stadium existing rather than because of it. Downtown, Mill District, and HCMC have all expanded over the past decades, making the land where the stadium sits valuable enough to warrant development if only the stadium wasn’t there.

    One example that reinforces that the stadium doesn’t inspire development on its own is the subsidies Minneapolis plans to pour into the first nearby development for a skyway and parking ramp. These are not needed, but the city will redirect money from more important public policy initiatives in order to continue subsidizing the NFL to today’s “NFL standards”.

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