Speculation that the Vikings could move their Winter Park headquarters has unsettled some of Eden Prairie’s leaders and created buzz about the future of 100-plus acres of farmland in Chanhassen, Susan Feydor and Kelly Smith of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune report .
“People in Chanhassen are asking, ‘Is it happening? Could it happen?’?” said Chanhassen Mayor Denny Laufenburger.
Talk about a possible Winter Park move surfaced in May, when a Vikings official and a developer confirmed there had been discussion about it.
A piece of the sprawling Chanhassen site near Hazeltine National Golf Club where the team’s headquarters might move already is on a developer’s radar for a possible lifestyle center with shops, restaurants, offices and housing.
Its retail portion alone would be roughly the size of Edina’s Galleria or the Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. The entire project would be the largest ever built in Chanhassen, boosting the land’s taxable value from less than $10 million to an estimated $100 million. It’s the kind of payoff city officials have been looking for since the Hwy. 212 expansion gave Carver County its first access to a freeway.
“The recognition of Winter Park, headquartered in Eden Prairie … it’s a good way for people to know where Eden Prairie is,” said Pat MulQueeny, the group’s president. “If the Vikings were to leave, it’s a loss. Definitely we’d like to keep them here.”
MulQueeny’s counterpart in Carver County recognizes the bragging rights that come with being associated with the Vikings. Every time the team calls a news conference at Winter Park, Eden Prairie’s name pops up on the news. There also are more tangible benefits, said Lori Anderson, president of the SouthWest Metro Chamber of Commerce.
“Having it [in Chanhassen] would really benefit area service businesses and restaurants,” Anderson said.
“They’re a quality employer needing quality services, everything from providing food to cleaning buildings,” Laufenburger said. In addition to Eden Prairie, the team also has facilities in Minneapolis, with a combined workforce of close to 200 employees who could be consolidated at a single location.
Laufenburger said there could be other benefits, like being able to use fields or practice facilities for community events. “It’s potentially exciting to think about the partnerships that could exist,” he said.
Besides the ripple effect on nearby businesses, the Vikings bring some tax benefits. In Eden Prairie, Winter Park pays about $272,000 a year in taxes for two parcels of land — $28,600 of which goes to the city and $35,700 to the school district, according to property records. An office building owned by the team brings $35,600 to the city and $44,500 to the school district.