The Minnesota Sports Facility Authority voted unanimously February 15 to select Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction to oversee construction of the new Minnesota Vikings football stadium.
Once underway, construction of the new stadium will be the largest construction project in the state, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Sports Facilities Authority.
“In total, about 7,500 crafts-people will work on this project by the time we’re done,” said Ken Sorensen, Mortenson vice president and general manager. “We are looking forward to putting people to work.”
Mortenson also worked to build the new Minnesota Twins ballpark and the new University of Minnesota football stadium.
“They’re a great firm. They have great experience,” said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development.
The Vikings and the Sports Facilities Authority had narrowed the final choice of construction managers to Mortenson and Arizona-based Hunt Construction.
“Taking away the issue of where Mortenson is based… they still were the strongest team, the best fit,” Bagley said. “The bonus is they’re the home team. They did a great job on Target Field. They did a great job on TCF Bank Stadium.”
“We’re really happy in having a local contractor take on this project,” said Bill McCarthy, vice chair of the Sports Facility Authority and president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation.
“One of the reasons Mortenson was selected was because of their experience and strength on schedule,” Bagley said.
“They know all the players in the city… They’ve got networks in the community… That makes a big difference in scheduling,” added Sports Facilities Authority chair Kelm-Helgen.
John Wood, senior vice president at Mortenson, said ground-breaking for the new stadium will take place in October 2013 with July 1, 2016 as a “substantial completion” date. “It’s a pretty tight schedule, 33 months.”
Peak employment on the site will be about 1,500 workers, Wood said.
He added: “As far as we’re concerned, the craft workers in Minnesota are the best in the country. We’re looking forward to giving so many workers the chance to get back to work.”
Representatives of Mortenson Construction and partner Thor Construction address the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. MSFA board members pictured include John Griffith, executive vice president of property development for Target (right). and MSFA vice chair Bill McCarthy, president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation (second from right).
Project Labor Agreement
The Sports Facilities Authority’s contract with Mortenson requires Mortenson to adopt a project labor agreement with the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council. The agreement will commit the two parties to no lock-outs and no strikes to ensure timely completion of the project.
In addition, the Sports Facilities Authority has adopted an “Equity Plan” to promote the involvement of women and members of minority communities in construction of the project. The goals of the Equity Plan are “very aggressive,” noted Sports Facilities Authority vice chair McCarthy.
McCarthy said Mortenson’s capacity to meet the goals of the Equity Plan was another factor in the company’s selection as construction manager. “They’re connected with the organizations who provide training so we can meet that 32 percent workforce goal for minorities and 6 percent for women.”
Putting Minnesota workers to work
After years of public controversy about whether or not to build a new Vikings stadium, the state legislature last year approved a hotly-debated public-private financing plan.
The new stadium will cost $975 million and seat 65,000 people.
“It feels great to turn the corner on this project and put Minnesota workers to work,” the Vikings’ Lester Bagley said.