As MLS stadium deadline nears, other cities propose possible sites


The Minnesota United has its sights set on building a new Major League Soccer stadium in downtown Minneapolis, but if that doesn't end up working out there are two nearby cities offering to step up as the July 1 deadline nears.

Where Minneapolis stands

The MLS gave Minnesota United owners until July 1 to develop a firm plan for building a soccer-specific stadium, and last week, the Minneapolis City Council gave the Minneapolis stadium idea "its first formal ... boost," the Star Tribune reported.

The team said it would build the $150 million facility with private funds, however franchise owners have said it would be tough to build it without property tax breaks and other tax reductions.

The city council last week voted 12-1 to create a working group to examine infrastructure needs, development sites and tax implications of building the new soccer-specific stadium near the city's farmers market, not far from Target Field.

“We are not shutting the door, is largely what this vote signified,” Council Member Jacob Frey told the Star Tribune.

Brooklyn Park's idea

As Minneapolis officials take their time, other cities have started to consider building the stadium.

Brooklyn Park City Council member John Jordan pitched what he's calling a "'throw it against the wall and see if it sticks' proposal" at Monday night's city council meeting, noting the city of Minneapolis has "been dragging their feet on the expensive, inconvenient Farmers Market location," he wrote on his Facebook page.

The proposal would be to build the stadium in Brooklyn Park along Highway 610 – nearby Target's suburban corporate campus, a proposed light-rail extension and an in-construction luxury apartment complex.

But it wouldn't just be a soccer stadium – Jordan has been pushing for "festival grounds" where the city can hold large events like its recent Tater Daze Festival. There have also been proposals to build a retail and dining district in the area, Jordan notes.

He wrote on Facebook:

"It would not only be a Brooklyn Park Festival Grounds as originally envisioned, but a larger destination for the entire Twin Cities. It would also be a huge benefit to soccer throughout the Northwest Suburbs, especially when you consider how many of our youth in Brooklyn Park and surrounding cities play the game."

Jordan wrote his idea received a positive response from all present and the city council plans to meet with Minnesota United officials to propose the idea soon.

City council members told the Star Tribune that it's too early in the proposal process to discuss subsidies for the stadium, but some kind of subsidy is possible.

St. Paul considers stepping in

St. Paul officials have also discussed potential sites if Minneapolis doesn't work out.

"We want Minneapolis to do all it can to come to an agreement with the owners of the MLS franchise, but, if they cannot get something done by the July 1 deadline, we are very serious about trying to keep the team in the Twin Cities," Matt Kramer, president of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce told KSTP.

Kramer says places like the Sears site near the State Capitol and the former Metro Transit bus barn are potential locations, the Pioneer Press reports.

Tonya Tennessen, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office, told the paper they don't want to interfere with the ongoing Minneapolis conversations.

“But I understand that if a deal isn’t struck, the mayor would be open to seeing soccer remain in this state and would be open to formal discussions about having them here in St. Paul,” she noted.

Kramer told KSTP the city would only step in at the "11th hour" if Minneapolis and the United owners can't reach an agreement by the July 1 deadline.

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