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Stadium, Events Center, Won't Compete For Jobs

May 11, 2012, 9:55 PM by Perry Groten

Stadium, Events Center, Won't Compete For Jobs

Local builders say don't worry about a new $1 billion Vikings football stadium in Minneapolis overshadowing construction of the $115 million events center in Sioux Falls.

Contractors say the new Vikings facility, approved Thursday by the Minnesota legislature, won't raid construction jobs here.
Contractors might be cheering the loudest by the time workers begin building a new Vikings stadium in about a year from now because Minnesota's construction industry has been in such a slump. Many builders have been coming across the border into South Dakota looking for jobs.

"In the Sioux Falls marketplace, it's very, very competitive.  And what we're seeing is they can't normally compete because they have to spend money to come into the community and travel expenses for their people," G.A. Johnson Construction CEO Jerry Johnson said.

One reaon why South Dakota contractors won't flood the Twin Cities to get in on the Vikings stadium construction is that travel expense.

"I used to have an office in Minneapolis with an architectural engineering firm that I worked for, TSP here in town, and we found the Minneapolis market very competitive as well," Johnson said.

Time is on the side of the Sioux Falls events center when it comes to construction jobs.  The project has had a full year's head start on the Vikings stadium, with construction scheduled to begin in August.

"So, the timing is not all that we would overlap trades or resources, construction resources at all, so we feel very confident that our project isn't going to be negatively impacted whatsoever by the Vikings,"  Sioux Falls Special Projects Manager Kendra Siemonsma said.

Plus, the events center should enjoy a home field advantage when it comes to construction jobs with 85 percent of the hiring going to local workers.

"And so our focus has always been we will do as much as we can locally with the understanding that there are some things, like building seats, that we just don't have the capacity to do here locally," Siemonsma said.

Siemonsma says the city is in the process of locking in 30 percent of the contractors for the events center.   Meanwhile, local builders who are optimistic about a busy spring and summer of construction, aren't fearful about any Vikings invasions on their turf.

According to the Vikings, the new stadium will employ some 7,500 construction workers.  That's compared to the Sioux Falls events center, which is expected to bring 1,000 construction jobs.

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