SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota United FC’s William McGuire and Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman today announced the team’s commitment to building a new soccer stadium at the Snelling-Midway site in Saint Paul, providing a home for Major League Soccer (MLS) in the state of Minnesota. Joined by local officials and soccer fans from across the state, the two confirmed that the team and city will work together – along with key partners at the state and local level including a community advisory committee – to build the nearly 20,000 person capacity soccer stadium at the well-known, centrally located site.
“By all measures important to soccer fans throughout the Twin Cities metro and the state, as well as the needs of the team and Major League Soccer (MLS), this is a great location for an iconic soccer facility that will house the MLS franchise in Minnesota,” said McGuire. “Located between two great downtowns, situated along multiple transit options and the interstate, and in the heart of a dynamic community, this site provides us the opportunity to work in partnership with the city of Saint Paul and the local community to establish top-tier professional soccer that will be readily accessible to everyone.”
Minnesota United was awarded an MLS franchise earlier this year in a highly competitive process that put Minnesota ahead of other major markets in the United States.
“Today is a great day for Saint Paul, for soccer and for the entire state,” said Mayor Coleman. “I am thrilled that the team wants to work with the community to build a stadium here in Saint Paul. A soccer stadium will provide an important catalyst for the redevelopment of the entire area – creating jobs, spurring housing and new commercial opportunities, and building on our commitment to transit oriented development. With an agreed framework for the construction of this stadium, we are confident that working with the community, our local and state partners and with one another, we can complete the process necessary to bring MLS to Minnesota.”
The Mayor and Dr. McGuire outlined a set of principles that will underpin stadium planning. The team reiterated it will privately finance the estimated $120 million stadium, and that it will be publicly owned once construction is complete. The Saint Paul City Council and Ramsey County have also passed resolutions supporting a continuation of tax exempt status for the site, a measure that will need to be approved by the state legislature. And, importantly, the two agreed that facilitating redevelopment of the local area to create an even more vibrant community is a prerequisite for moving forward.
“This is an exciting time for Ward 1 and soccer fans across the state,” stated Councilmember Dai Thao who represents the Ward. “Thank you to my fellow Councilmembers and County Commissioners for their leadership and support. This is the type of opportunity we need in Ward 1 to ensure progress for all, and reduce the economic gap. Let’s work together to create a vibrant destination we can be proud of!”
The redevelopment vision for the area is shared by Richard Birdoff of RK Midway, the owner of the 25-acres that surround the historic bus barn site where the stadium will be centered. “We have waited years for the right stimulus to help drive redevelopment of this area into a more vibrant part of a highly progressive community,” said Birdoff. “The MLS stadium provides us the catalyst to move ahead and help create something that will further enhance this area in ways that will be a source of pride for everyone. We are excited to have it underway, and anticipate great things for the community because of it.”
With momentum building over the past month for a soccer stadium in Saint Paul, Mayor Coleman and the Saint Paul City Council announced last week that the city is seeking applicants for a community advisory committee to guide the work of City staff and consultants as the project moves forward. The 15 to 20 person committee will be tasked with representing the broader interests of the community and providing input on the overall design and development decisions that will emerge. The local community will also be engaged through community open houses, Open Saint Paul (online engagement tool) and public hearings at both the Planning Commission and City Council.
“Today we are one step closer toward the debut of Major League Soccer in Minnesota,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We believe the Midway location will be a tremendous home for Minnesota’s new MLS club based on the site’s central location, close proximity to a diverse millennial population, and easy access to multiple modes of public transportation.”
The team has launched a new website at www.newstpaulstadium.com to keep soccer fans updated on developments. At the same time, the city continues to update www.stpaul.gov/snellingredevelopment with information about the community process.