When the Vikings' proposal for a new stadium in Anoka County collapsed in 2006, Blaine landowner John Trost potentially lost millions of dollars. The value of his wetlands, no longer coveted by Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, suddenly plummeted.
Trost, 78, says he's not sure he can afford to keep the 80 acres he's held for more than a half-century. His wetlands have been reclassified as industrial land -- meaning his property taxes have tripled to $30,000 and he's obligated to pay surveying fees to the Army Corps of Engineers.
He's not sure why his wetlands are being assessed as "industrial" property.
There are no defined plans for the 720 acres once considered for a Vikings stadium and retail complex.
And there are no known bidders for the property, said Bryan Schafer, Blaine planning and community development director.
Schafer said city officials will meet with Trost this week, but Trost is skeptical. Trost, who spent years in court battling the Rice Creek Watershed District, has also butted heads with the Army Corps of Engineers, with whom he must seek permits over the way his land will be used.
"There's no such thing as valuable wetland," Trost said recently. "You can't build anything on it. You can't do a thing with it.
"When you change wetlands to high ground by draining the property, there are tremendous hoops the government makes you jump through," Trost said.
"But before we can complete the requirement for a soil correction permit, we have to identify who is going to use the land. And there isn't anybody. So how do I get through the government's justification process?"
Rick Wilder, who likely lost between $10 million and $20 million when Wilf ended negotiations for his property, said his land has been rezoned but not reclassified in value. He said his land already was considered for "office or retail."
Trost has a solution.
"I think there's still enough available land here for a Vikings stadium in Blaine," he said.
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419