Written by Rochelle Olson for Star Tribune.
The live/work/play campus long envisioned by the Vikings' owners for their new Eagan campus is closing in on the trifecta.
They've built the work and the play with the new headquarters for the NFL football team and their new e-sports franchise Røkker. There's also the full-service Twin Cities Orthopedics clinic and lots of walking and biking paths among the newly planted trees on nearly 200 acres.
Now comes the living part: Omni Hotels and Resorts will open its first Minnesota location there this fall, a 14-story, 320-room stunner. By next summer, 261 apartment units will open to renters.
"All of our projects here we've been able to keep on time and on budget," said Don Becker, who heads real estate and development for the Vikings. "They're happening pretty much the way we laid it out in the initial plan."
That was back in 2016, when the Eagan City Council approved the multiphase Viking Lakes project by MV Eagan Ventures, operated by Mark, Zygi and Leonard Wilf.
The Wilfs bought the Vikings with money from their successful New Jersey real estate enterprise. The team moved its offices to Eagan from its longtime Eden Prairie quarters in 2018.
The development is rising on acreage near Dodd Road and Interstate 494 that once was the global headquarters of Northwest Airlines. Those office buildings are gone, but the new development has kept the surrounding wetlands and verdant contours of the parcel.
The Omni hotel will connect to the outdoorsy campus in various ways, including a lounge with an outdoor terrace, an outdoor pool, a full-service spa, a 7,500-square-foot ballroom and a 4,410-square-foot event center.
The hotel will feature six two-story hospitality lounges placed on every other floor with couches, communal tables, a fireplace and kitchens.
Rents for the apartments haven't been announced, and there's been no marketing yet for the complex, but Becker said he's already heard from wannabe tenants and put them on the waiting list. Many of the units will have two bedrooms, and tenants will get an underground parking spot.
Renters will have plenty of play opportunities with a full-size indoor lap pool, an outdoor leisure pool, yoga rooms, a golf simulator and bowling alley. There will be party rooms and a clubhouse, and eventually tennis and pickleball courts.
"We just think this area is going to be a destination," Becker said. "I'm seeing it already with people who show up on campus to bike or walk with their kids."
Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire said the development so far has been thoughtful and well-coordinated, with disagreements easily smoothed out. He said he's eager to find out the level of interest in the apartments and whether residents relocate.
"That will be a test of how welcoming the community is," Maguire said.
More phases are planned with additional apartments, offices, retail space and a restaurant with entertainment. Becker said specifics haven't been determined, but big-box stores won't be part of it. The offices will offer "flexible space" to reflect the new reality that employees won't be going into the office every day. An employee would call a day in advance to have their space set up for them, then their office equipment would be stored to let someone else use the space the next day.
Maguire expects the campus site to get busier with the hotel opening and the eventual arrival of entertainment.
"For a lot of the community, they're looking forward to what it's going to become," the mayor said.