Lacrosse is the latest sport to join the mix at the Vikings' flourishing development on the former Eagan site of the Northwest Airlines headquarters, the NFL team's owners will announce Tuesday.
Arete Sport, a lacrosse management agency started by Cory Childs of Burnsville, will move next month into the Innovation Center at the heart of the Viking Lakes campus.
Childs already has a Team UNRL showcase event planned for July 20-21 at the Vikings' TCO Stadium for up-and-coming lacrosse players from across the country.
"That's probably one of the biggest draws, being able to run events at the [Eagan] stadium," he said of the move from Burnsville, his hometown.
Lacrosse, a popular sport in the northeastern United States for years, has been steadily growing in other regions of the country, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, Childs said. July will be a showcase month for the sport at Viking Lakes, where the Arete event will follow the Premier Lacrosse League's first foray into the market with a weekend tournament on July 11-12.
Even as the public has been kept away from Vikings games and events in the last year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, progress on the team's multiuse campus has zipped along, according to plans first approved by the Eagan City Council in mid-2016. The campus is the work of MV Ventures, the Minnesota development arm of the Vikings' ownership.
From the outset, MV Ventures laid out plans for a multiyear project to embrace the wetlands and woodsy features on the 200-acre campus while creating spaces for work, recreation, dining and shopping. The 14-story, 320-room Omni Viking Lakes hotel opened last fall despite the pandemic.
MV Ventures owner Mark Wilf said Arete's focus on elevating lacrosse fits their vision for the development. The Vikings moved from Winter Park in Eden Prairie into their expansive new home, just south of Interstate 494 and east of Interstate 35E, in the spring of 2018.
"This move is a win-win as it helps strengthen Arete's awareness mission and supports our vision of establishing a sports-, health- and wellness-centric tenant base," Wilf said.
Other sports-related tenants already on the campus include Training Haus Sports Medicine Center, USTA Northern, Minnesota Røkkr and Version1 e-sports franchises, the Vikings Museum and Locker Room Team Store.
Childs said Training Haus — which works on building athletic skills such as running, endurance, footwork and strength — complements the lacrosse skills work that Arete focuses on with developing players.
Arete Sport offers support to club teams as well as recruiting support for players aiming at the next level. Arete's seven employees will move into 5,500 square feet in the Innovation Center, including an indoor turf space.
Viking Lakes general manager Kyle Chank said the addition of Arete brings occupancy at the center to about 50%. He added that another tenant expected to be announced soon will bring occupancy to almost 70%.
Coming in August: the opening of the first phase of the Viking Lakes residential community with some 261 rental units, including underground parking, a clubhouse and indoor lap-swimming pool. Chank said he already has a waiting list with about 100 names even though applications aren't being formally taken.
The Viking Lakes development eventually is expected to include more than 3 million square feet of office space anchored by the team's corporate headquarters and training facility, the stadium and Twin Cities Orthopedics center, the Vikings Museum and Locker Room Team Store.
More apartments, flexible office spaces, retail and entertainment are expected in coming years.