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Minnesota Vikings owners make progress on Eagan development

By Rochelle Olson, 10/28/23, 2:45PM CDT


Phase three of Viking Lakes adds apartments adjacent to basketball, pickleball and tennis courts. 

What started as the new Eagan home of the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 on the site of the former world headquarters of Northwest Airlines has developed into a burgeoning neighborhood with apartments, a hotel, corporate offices and year-round recreational activities.

Two years before the new headquarters opened, MV Ventures, operated by Vikings owners Mark, Zygi and Leonard Wilf, went to the Eagan City Council and won approval for a multiyear plan for Viking Lakes, a live-work-play development on the 200-acre site just south of Interstate 494 and east of Dodd Rodd.

Don Becker, Vikings executive vice president for real estate development, is now aiming to create "a sense of belonging" for the area, a "feeling of I'm proud of where I live; I'm proud of where I work," he said in an interview last week.

Phase two, which included apartments along with tennis, basketball, volleyball and pickleball courts, is wrapping up. One building will open Dec. 1 and another is scheduled to open on May 1, adding a total of 230 more apartments to the site.

At the end of phase two, Becker said 40% of the site will remain to be developed. In November, MV Ventures will ask the City Council for initial approval of phase three, which includes more apartments.

Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire and Council Member Gary Hansen have welcomed the project from the beginning, but they're still surprised at how it's come along.

"When you adopt a sweeping vision like that with a developer who has a big plan, you know up front there's going to be some changes and evolution to the plan," Maguire said in an interview Thursday. But the changes have been minor, and Maguire said he's been happy to see areas around the site benefit from the new energy.

For example, new restaurants are opening in nearby buildings on Dodd Road. Thomson Reuters has announced its leasing space and moving into the Prime Therapeutics headquarters next to the Viking Lakes development.

Hansen, who compared the Eagan development to Disney World back in 2016, is pleased.

"The Viking Lakes development continues to enhance our community's vibrancy, entertainment offerings, and shopping options, and we benefit from growth in the area, including housing, people, economic development, and an expanded tax base," he said in a statement.

Phase two included apartments along with tennis, basketball, volleyball and pickleball courts.

On a sunny day with the abundant tree coverage in full fall palette, lunch-hour runners, dog walkers and bikers were on the gently bending paths in and around the development.

"This has very much become a destination," said Becker, who keeps his own bike on the site for rides when he's visiting from his New Jersey home base.

Maguire said he's been surprised at how the developers have been able to enliven the entire area while maintaining a park-like feel for those already living and working there. "They've done a good job of making sure current residents don't feel like they're living in a construction zone," he said.

By the end of phase two, the site will have 487 housing units with an indoor lap pool, an outdoor recreational pool, a bowling alley, golf simulator and clubhouse and numerous outdoor amenities.

Phase three will add 327 units in three buildings with more amenities for those who live and work on the site, according to Kyle Chank, vice president of operations for MV Ventures.

Possible future amenities include new entertainment options, retail, shopping and another restaurant, Chank said.

That's on top of what the Vikings already bring to the space at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, their new home with their five outdoor fields, museum, shop, stadium and public events that run through winter. Those events have included a polar plunge, curling, pond hockey, an ice maze and winter markets.

The development's growth continued through the pandemic when the Omni Viking Lakes Hotel improbably opened and flourished along with Ann Kim's Kyndred Hearth restaurant on the first floor.

The Wilfs, who have been developing real estate in New Jersey since before buying the Vikings, own other parcels around town that they're pondering for development, Becker said.

Those future projects include the two surface parking lots north of U.S. Bank Stadium that are the only remaining tailgating locations, and the Eden Prairie site of the team's former headquarters at Interstate 494 and Highway 169.

Becker said they'll turn to those sites when the market and time allow. He said a mixed-use residential site is likely at the former Winter Park but was less clear on what might be in store on the tailgating lots.

The Short Hills, N.J.-based MV Ventures took control of the site when it was a mothballed corporate campus because Delta Air Lines took the remnants of the Northwest Airlines operations south to Atlanta. The development has received no public subsidies or tax breaks.

"From our perspective, they've been great partners," Maguire said.

To read the full article, head here: Minnesota Vikings owners make progress on Eagan development surrounding team headquarters (