Minnesota United breaks ground on new St. Paul Soccer Stadium

13 December 2016

Minnesota United FC may have held its groundbreaking Monday for a new St. Paul soccer stadium, but it will be at least several months before substantial work will begin on the project.

Team owner Bill McGuire confirmed that he has not yet reached an agreement with RD Management, which owns the Midway Shopping Center. McGuire needs a slice of New York-based RD Management’s land — the part that includes a Rainbow Foods store — if he wants to build his stadium in the north-south configuration that he prefers.

McGuire opened the door to a possible east-west configuration in the event that he can’t strike a deal with RD Management. That would allow him to avoid negotiations with the real estate firm and just build on a bus barn site owned by Metro Transit.

“We have looked at a number of options and that’s certainly a possibility,” McGuire said. “That’s not preferred. Obviously, this is not just about the stadium, this is about advancing an entire community in terms of a lot of redevelopment and additions, and it works best when it’s north-south.”

McGuire said good progress was being made on a deal. Even if McGuire strikes a deal with RD Management, that firm still needs backing from the St. Paul Port Authority before it can sell a piece of the land because of the way RD Management set up its financing for the shopping center. The Port Authority has not scheduled a hearing on such a maneuver to help RD Management with the sale.

Work to bury power lines on the site has begun, but McGuire said the big digging wouldn't begin until spring.

So why did McGuire hold a groundbreaking when he doesn’t control the site he needs for his stadium?

One reason, he said, is because designs for the stadium have changed, as Minnesota United is planning to build a larger canopy to cover fans as well as a restaurant that would be open even when soccer games aren’t scheduled. And the team is trying to sell season tickets, with a goal of selling 11,842 — a number chosen to match the number of lakes in Minnesota.

“It’s logical to do that right now, particular at a time we are getting people geared up for purchasing season tickets and getting ready to play next year,” he said.

Minnesota United FC plans to enter Major League Soccer next season and will play at TCF Bank Stadium in 2017 and 2018.

Asked if he still plans to finish the stadium in 2018, McGuire said yes, but he also hedged a bit.

“Sure. It’s possible," he said. "You can do a lot, it just depends on what kind of things come up and what weekends do we want to work and how long do you work. But we are confident we can get it done.”


Source: bizjournals.com