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MN United owner would consider allowing $150M soccer stadium to be public-owned

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Minnesota United owner Bill McGuire has said he is open to handing over the keys to a planned soccer stadium to Minneapolis or Hennepin County – if it means they can get the tax breaks needed to build it.

There has been some political opposition to the Blaine-based team's intention to fund a new $150 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis privately, while requesting exemption on property taxes and on sales tax for construction materials.

All of the major stadiums in the Twin Cities get property tax exemption because they are publicly-owned and the soccer team wants the same treatment for its stadium – which is required for United's entry to Major League Soccer in 2018 – even though the plan is for it to be funded and owned privately.

However, McGuire told MPR that he'd be willing to sign over the stadium to a public entity in order to get the exemption, thus giving it the same status as the other major league stadiums in the metro area, but one which did not have any direct public funding for construction.

"We are not averse to that notion," he told the news station. "But while the stadium would become a public entity in that regard, it still would have some very different characteristics than the other stadiums that are out there."

The Star Tribune points out that Mayor Betsy Hodges is among those against giving the 18,500 stadium a property tax exemption, saying it would be "unprecedented" for a private entity, saying it would cost the city up to $4.2 million-a-year.

But the newspaper notes that without property tax exemptions, McGuire said the building would be "non economic" after such a massive outlay of private funding to build it.

The Pioneer Press reports that McGuire admitted that not having the tax relief would "make it very difficult to build the stadium," though said he made it clear that this wasn't a threat, and that they want to do "good things for the community."

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