Last week, we discussed the major impact the new Vikings stadium – U.S. Bank Stadium – has had on the surrounding community in its corner of downtown Minneapolis, now dubbed "East Town". Developers have poured over a billion dollars into the area, and the plans (and $$) keep coming. Now, with Eagan hosting the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, the Vikings' new mega training and office campus, one might wonder what level of renaissance (if any) the local community in that part of town will experience. The TCO Performance Center is just the first piece of the puzzle for the site itself. Eventually, the 200 acre site will also have a conference center, retail, offices, living options, and hospitality, according to the builder's site. All of those extra pieces would be completed over the next decade or two.
When considering the community beyond the 200 acres, there's the players' living situations to consider. The Vikings have moved approximately 25 minutes east on 494 from their old facility, Winter Park, which was located in Eden Prairie. Many players and staff members chose to make their home close to Winter Park, living in western cities like Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Edina, and Minnetonka. Now, they may choose to relocate east to make the commute quick and easy. Although the eastern Twin Cities suburbs don't carry the same pizazz and wow factor as places like Edina and Minnetonka, cities near Eagan like Mendota Heights, St. Paul, Sunfish Lake, and Woodbury offer really nice homes, plenty of amenities and a short commute. They're all still within a reasonable drive of downtown Minneapolis for both games and entertainment purposes. If buying isn't of interest, there are some new luxury apartments, The Reserve, opening in Mendota Heights this summer, and they're a mere 7 minute drive from the headquarters. Of course, that's before the planned residential part of the complex is completed – after that, the Vikings may get their wish to have players living on campus (according to Sportsnaut, Vikings COO Warren has expressed that hope) - although that may cater more to bachelors who aren't needing space for family.
Beyond players moving east, the TCO Performance Center may also convince players to stay local in the offseason. In fact, Kyle Rudolph did just that this year, according to a release from the Vikings. Rather than escape from this (terrible, long, never-ending) Minnesota winter to the California sun, Rudolph chose to train and rehab at the state-of-the-art facility. If more players choose to do the same, the local economy stands to gain from that standpoint as well. After all, they've got a lot of money to spend.
With the Vikings complex meant to also host local high school games, surely more dining and entertainment options will crop-up nearby. But while the facility will likely be a major economic boon for the area, some neighbors are upset with the most immediate impact of the TCO Performance Center: the exterior lights, as reported in the Star Tribune. That seems like a rectifiable situation, and in the end, the upside for the area should greatly outweigh its drawbacks.
Photo By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - Minnesota Vikings, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64039191