M.A. Mortenson

Recent Articles

M.A. Mortenson not up to the task for an NFL stadium

Construction manager track record in construction: junior varsity

 
In these columns a year ago, I called attention to the concerns making the Minnesota Vikings uncomfortable with the selection of M.A. Mortenson as construction manager for the now over $1 billion Vikings stadium, concerns shared also with the NFL. Nothing against Mortenson. It’s a really nice square peg, but they are trying to fit it into a round hole and it doesn’t fit. Mortenson, great at smaller venues (see below), is out of its league with the Vikings, lacking the expertise, experience, and success history with projects of this size and magnitude. Contrast this with those the Star Tribune reported as rejected (January 21, 2013): Hunt Construction, of Scottsdale, AZ, builder of nearly 50 professional sports venues, including NFL stadiums (two with retractable roofs), and Skanska, the international firm that has also built NFL stadiums. Mortenson has built none. Continue Reading →

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“To the extent practical”

Escape language in legislation allows steel purchase outside Iron Range

 

The Minnesota Sports Facility Authority met November 22, 2013, to sign the contract to put the final stadium construction process and procedures into place. The local daily newspaper’s picture of John Wood of M.A. Mortenson, shaking hands with a colleague, with a large group of people smiling and applauding in the background, shows how well steel facts were withheld as happy faces turned unhappy within 24 hours as people realized not all the steel would come from Minnesota, as “promised.”

The legislative language: “to the extent practical…MN steel” (see Stadium legislation, Section 11, lines 2423-2424) is the escape hatch from “all Minnesota.” This is how the State and City continually get away with not hiring Black Americans on construction projects, using equivalencies of good-faith effort, as we’ve long reported. Now its the Iron Range White man’s turn, as 20 percent of stadium steel will come from steel mines of ArcelorMittal (in the Duchy of Luxembourg, Ruhr Valley, near Germany). After Mittal bought Arcelor in 2006, the Mittal family of India has owned 40 percent of ArcelorMittal. The issue is not where the steel comes from (you want the best so the stadium doesn’t collapse). Continue Reading →

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The Wilfs prevail

Vikings owners make clean sweep
 
The Vikings and Sports Authority signed their new stadium agreement on October 3rd, resulting in Vikings ownership prevailing on their stated goals regarding the lease agreement, licensing, naming rights, concession ownership, and development package. The day before the Vikings-Sports Authority deal was signed, Minnesota Spokesman Recorder ran my column (written eight days earlier), repeating 18 months of warning: “the Vikings will have to be given everything they want in order to stay.”

At signing the next day, Governor Dayton admitted “yes: failure to satisfy Vikings ownership demands would guarantee losing the team… The economics of professional sports are highly questionable all over this country… We wouldn’t have an agreement here and we wouldn’t have a team staying here if we hadn’t been willing to accede to demand[s] on the team’s part from the very beginning of the process.”

Experts estimate Vikings can generate at least $100 million more a year. Will they put it in their pockets or use it to sign/hold better players? Minnesota ticket holders and taxpayers alike: is it all worth 10 games a year that most can’t attend but can watch only from TV? Yes, there will be temporary jobs during construction (but many to workers from outside Minnesota). Continue Reading →

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School district provides ‘Kindergarten Report’ on HQ construction

 
Will Vikings stadium reporting be the next fairy tale?  

At the Minneapolis School District (MSD) sub-committee meeting of September 24, a final report was presented — “Minority, Women and Diversity Business Participation Oversight Committee” (MWDB-POC Report) — on the construction of the MSD Headquarters (HQ) building in North Minneapolis, including reporting on minority hiring compliance. I call it a “Kindergarten Report” because the report is long on words, short on numbers, and fanciful with the truth. This is not to put down kindergarten children. They are too honest and innocent to present as truth the fabrications presented in what was more like a Star Chamber-type report, a report in a style children like: fanciful fairy tales. Continue Reading →

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