Venue News: Minnesota Approves Stadium Plan; Olympic Stadium Formally Opened

After a lengthy legislative battle that threatened to cause the Vikings to leave town, the Minnesota House has approved a plan to build a $975 million stadium for the team. However, the deal includes a big boost in what the Vikings would pay. The amended plan that passed 73-58 Monday night would raise the Vikings’ share to $532 million, or about 55% of construction costs. That knocks about $105 million off the state’s contribution. The team has said it wouldn’t pay more than $427 million. The Senate will consider its own version of the bill. Differences would be worked out in a conference committee…

…With 2,012 hours to go until the Games begin on July 27, the Olympic stadium was formally opened on Saturday by a nine-year-old girl who lives down the road. Niamh Clarke-Willis, who can see the Olympic Park from her home in the east London borough of Hackney, stepped out into the infield of the 500 million pound ($807.92 million) stadium with London 2012 chairman Seb Coe. Together they pressed a button that opened a net and sent balloons swirling above the 40,000-strong crowd, who had snapped up the available tickets in a mere 20 minutes. The stadium had already been open for business for a day, with Saturday’s event coming at the end of the British Universities and Colleges outdoor championships. The stadium, at the center of the Olympic Park in a formerly rundown part of east London, will go into lockdown from May 12 as organizers put the final touches to the facility…

…In other Olympic-venue news, plans have been unveiled for a 10,000-spectator area with a giant screen showing live events in the Olympic Park during the Games. Those with tickets for sporting venues in the park will be able to access it on a first-come-first-served basis. Games organizers hope it will become the Olympic equivalent of “Henman Hill” at Wimbledon. The 14m high screen, the height of three double-decker buses, will be located on a special platform in the River Lea and will be viewable from both sides of the River Lea.”Park Live”, which is the fifth largest venue on the Olympic Park, is being presented by British Airways. It will be open from early morning until late evening.

…The Dodgers’ new owners will pay $14 million per year to rent the parking lots from an entity half-owned by Frank McCourt, according to land-use documents intended to “facilitate the orderly development” of the property surrounding Dodger Stadium. The potential uses for the property include shops and restaurants, homes and offices, and another sports venue. The documents also discuss the possibility of parking structures on the land. Guggenheim Baseball agreed to a 99-year lease with the company that owns the parking lots, a joint venture between McCourt and an entity affiliated with the new team owners.  According to the documents, Guggenheim has the authority to sell naming rights to Dodger Stadium…

…New York State has put the brakes on an unconventional parking plan at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn that critics feared would have created neighborhood traffic nightmares. Stack-parking — a time-consuming process that uses hydraulic lifts to stack anywhere from two to four cars atop one another — won’t be used, as previously planned, at a surface parking lot under construction next to the Nets’ new home. A permanent underground lot is supposed to be built as part of the larger Atlantic Yards project, but with the development’s 16 residential and commercial towers on hold, the surface lot is expected to exist for years.

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