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Published Thursday, November 07, 2013

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Refinement of Minn. Vikings stadium costs drags on

The Associated Press - MINNEAPOLIS

An official involved in the Minnesota Vikings stadium project said Wednesday that planners won't meet a goal of finalizing key elements of the financing by week's end.

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen told The Associated Press that her staff, team representatives and the main contractor are still working to reach a "guaranteed maximum price" for construction work. The project is capped at $975 million, but not all of that goes into the actual structure. Preliminary bids for materials and labor have come in higher than expected, putting pressure on the overall budget for the 68,000-seat enclosed stadium.

The authority had hoped to reach a price deal this week so the Vikings could finalize loans on their $477 million private share. The state won't sell bonds for a $498 million public portion until the Vikings do that.

Kelm-Helgen said discussions continue on ways to shave costs without affecting noticeable stadium features. She said the pricing agreement could be done by next week.

Officials were eyeing mid-November for groundbreaking in order to get the stadium built by summer of 2016.

"At this point we're still confident we can make that July 1, 2016, date," Kelm-Helgen said. "Clearly, every week that goes by, that's in jeopardy."

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