Our client, Minneapolis Venture, LLC, owned Downtown East, a city block adjacent to the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. The property included an underground parking ramp, a light rail station, and a large plaza. The plaza was used by the Vikings subject to a Use Agreement created in 2003. Minneapolis Venture bought the property with the intention of developing it when the market conditions were appropriate after the Use Agreement terminated in 2013.
When the decision was made to build a new Vikings stadium on the Metrodome site, it became clear that Minneapolis Venture would never get the opportunity to develop Downtown East because the property would become part of the new stadium development. However, the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA) would not commit to negotiating a purchase of the property and would not start condemnation proceedings because it did not want to spend money any sooner than absolutely necessary. Minneapolis Venture was left holding property that it could not develop or sell in the open market while waiting for the MSFA to make a decision.
The Anthony Ostlund Approach
The MSFA did not want to pay our client fair value for its property and stalled negotiations for its purchase. We needed to put pressure on the MSFA so that our client was not left at the MFSA’s mercy. We gave notice of breach of the Use Agreement and notice of termination of the Use Agreement as of late-October 2013; in the midst of the Vikings season. When the MSFA claimed there was no breach and that it has a right to extend the Use Agreement forever, we brought a lawsuit to resolve that dispute. Before the Court could make any decisions about the Use Agreement, the MSFA and Vikings decided to solve the problem by entering into a purchase agreement for Downtown East. After repeatedly claiming that Downtown East was worth no more than $4.5 million, the MSFA and Vikings agreed to pay our client $17.1 million for its property.
By filing suit, we were able to get the MSFA to deal seriously with our client and mediate a fair settlement. Our client sold its property for $17.1 million, far above the tax assessed value of $4.5 million. We were able to help our client avoid prolonged litigation and a lengthy condemnation proceeding.
“Norm is smart, creative, and decisive. He is always well prepared and he doesn’t waste your time.”
– Phil Jaffe, Minneapolis Venture LLC partner
Minneapolis Venture, LLC v. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, State of Minnesota, Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CV-13-15247 (2013)