The new U.S. Bank Stadium is looking more like the architectural images presented to the public in the past 18 months or so.
With opening day about a year away, progress will accelerate on the massive structure looming over Downtown East in Minneapolis.
The Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and contractor Mortenson Construction on Monday celebrated the one-year-out mark for the stadium, the $1.083 billion future home of the Vikings football team. The facility, which broke ground in December 2013, will open next summer — just in time for the first preseason Vikings games.
“We remain confident that this is going to be the best stadium in the NFL,” Lester Bagley, executive vice president for the team, said during a media tour of the facility.
The stadium is more than 65 percent complete. About $550 million has been spent to date, and crews perform about $1.5 million in work every day.
Both the interior and exterior of the 1.8-million-square-foot building are still characteristic of a construction site, with an exposed support structure, piles of materials in corridors and plenty of detail work left to do. In the building’s outer concourse, many concession stands are framed but few have any signs or other distinguishing features.
Just last week, crews hit a milestone for the project by “decentering” the structure’s primary ridge truss and beginning to disassemble several massive support structures that had been holding it up. The largest crane on site is being dismantled as well and will be shipped off in 70 truckloads later this month.
Starting next month, crossing items off the to-do list will speed up for Mortenson and other stadium subcontractors.
In early August, crews will start installing the first seats at the stadium, said Eric Grenz, a construction executive for Golden Valley-based Mortenson. By September, crews will finish exterior signage featuring the building’s new name, the first of which was being hoisted into place Monday morning.
By mid-November, crews will finish installing the ETFE roofing covering nearly two-thirds of the building’s roof, and the building will be completely enclosed. Crews can install that translucent material at a rate of about one end-to-end row per week.
By January, scoreboards will be installed, with retractable seating on the north end of the stadium set for completion in March and locker rooms to be done in April. Field turf will be installed in May.
Although most will get to know the building for its football games and other events, officials credit the stadium in part for the revitalization of the Downtown East neighborhood, situated roughly between Interstate 94 to the east, the Mississippi River to the north and Portland Avenue to the west.
More than $1 billion in new construction is already underway in the neighborhood, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the MSFA. Most notable is the $420 million Downtown East project by Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. US Inc., on four city blocks just west of the stadium. Two Wells Fargo office towers will open late this year and in early 2016, with other housing, hotel and park components set to open around the same time as the stadium.
“It’s no longer speculative as to whether this stadium will have an economic development impact on the area,” Kelm-Helgen said. “It’s already happening.”
The stadium is expected to host several other sporting events including baseball games, future Final Four college basketball games in 2019, and it could still be used for soccer games, if other parties’ plans for a stadium elsewhere in the Twin Cities don’t pan out.
“This will be an extremely flexible space built for all magnitudes of sporting events,” Lance Evans, of Dallas-based HKS, the project’s architect, said Monday.
College Football Playoff representatives will tour the building in August to weigh it as a candidate for the National Championship game in 2020. The Super Bowl will be played here in 2018.
The stadium also has several areas for corporate events, weddings, bar mitzvahs and other private gatherings, including the 30,000-square-foor Viking Club, the 14,000-square-foot Club Purple and the 12,000-square-foot Valhalla Club.
U.S. Bank Stadium is expected to open by the facility’s first scheduled event, in August 2016.