Another significant step toward building a Major League Soccer stadium in St. Paul is coming next week.
The Pioneer Press reports the city council will enter into a "joint powers agreement" with the Metropolitan Council and St. Paul Port Authority to pave the way for the long-term lease of Met Council land off Snelling and University avenues.
This is the city's preferred site for an 18,000-seat stadium to be built by Minnesota United, for its entry into the highest professional soccer league in the United States.
According to the Pioneer Press, the joint powers agreement would "set the stage for future lease negotiations," and will be voted on by the City Council, Port Authority and the Met Council at separate meetings Wednesday.
Ultimately, the Star Tribune notes, Major League Soccer has the final decision on whether it would accept Minnesota United playing out of St. Paul (after initially approving a proposal for a stadium in Minneapolis' North Loop).
A joint powers agreement would signal "momentum" for St. Paul's bid, the newspaper said, albeit the final stamp of approval would be some way off given that United owner Bill McGuire is asking for tax breaks for the site. That would require legislative action next year.
MinnPost has picked out an intriguing aspect of the agreement to be discussed on Wednesday, which says that the intention is for the stadium to be privately financed and constructed, but owned by the City of St. Paul.
McGuire has hinted in the past through that he would be open to having the stadium transferred to public ownership in order for it to be eligible for property tax exemptions.
All other major stadiums in the Twin Cities are publicly owned and as such are exempt from certain taxes.