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BLAINE, MN-The new owner of the Minnesota Vikings football team recently sent a letter to Anoka County and Blaine officials pledging the team to make a new football stadium part of a $1.6-billion multi-use project here called Pheasant Ridge.

In a letter dated Aug. 1 to Mayor Tom Ryan and Margaret Langfeld, chair of the Anoka County Board of Commissioners, New Jersey retail real estate magnate Zygmunt Wilf said he was committed to building in Blaine despite other alternative sites for the stadium in Eden Prairie, Eagan and Minneapolis. The Vikings want to build a stadium and training facility as part of a larger project that would be the Preserve at Rice Creek, which accounts for more than half of the 750 acres that comprises Pheasant Ridge.

He also said he supported the county’s concept for a development that would include a $645-million stadium. Anoka County has developed plans to finance a new stadium, calling for the cost to be split three ways among the owner, the county and the state. The county board has agreed to levy a 0.75% sales tax for its part of the cost, and Wilf has said he would pay his share. The Minnesota Legislature did not bring the plan to a vote last session.

Meanwhile, the Blaine City Council heard the first reading of a measure that would place a moratorium on building in the Pheasant Ridge development area while a master plan for the area is worked out. The master plan would address transportation and environmental issues and allow for such uses as a Vikings stadium, retail, office and housing.

“The new owner of the Vikings has recently indicated his intentions to build a stadium with large scale ancillary development in this area and has been in contact with many of the property owners regarding this effort,” says Bryan Schafer, Blaine’s community development director. Schafer calls the area “the key development piece remaining in the city.”

The moratorium would hold off on further development on the area while developing a master plan and passing the related zoning changes, Schafer says. The moratorium will be read again at the next council meeting Aug. 18, published the next day and is expected to take effect Sept. 18.

“We are…assembling a development team of planners, transportation consultants, environmental engineers and financial advisers to help us move this project forward,” Wilf said in his letter. The letter also said the team would work with state leaders about the state’s “role in this public-private partnership.”

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