St. Paul city officials are meeting with a top Major League Soccer executive Tuesday afternoon to talk more about locating Minnesota United's proposed new stadium in the city.
There's no deal yet, Mayor Chris Coleman said at a brief news conference with MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott, but Abbott said he's interested in learning more about the site that Coleman is pitching – the former Metro Transit bus barn site at Snelling and University avenues.
After the news conference, which was held at CHS Field in Lowertown, the two went to the proposed site to take a look around, according to the Star Tribune.
Coleman is hoping to capitalize on the reticence of Minneapolis officials to commit to tax breaks that would allow United, led by owner Bill McGuire, to build a $150 million stadium near the downtown farmers’ market.
United currently plays in the North American Soccer League and has been given the go-ahead to enter the MLS in 2018.
The MLS had set a July 1 deadline for McGuire to get funding lined up for a stadium in Minneapolis, but when that deadline passed with no agreement reached, attention turned to St. Paul.
Mayor Coleman and other St. Paul leaders have been wooing McGuire and MLS officials for several weeks.
McGuire met with the city's chamber of commerce last month, according to KARE 11, and said afterward: "I think we are committed to doing the right thing for the community and bringing soccer to this community. We’re going to be at the best place possible to make that happen for the people."
Emails between St. Paul officials show the city was putting together a stadium proposal more than two months before Minneapolis’ July 1 deadline arrived, according to MinnPost.
On Tuesday, Coleman said he was sure that his city isn't being used as a pawn by MLS to get a better deal from Minneapolis on their original stadium proposal, the Star Tribune said.
In the ubiquitous category of "Minnesota connection," the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes that Abbot is a graduate of Tartan High School in Oakdale.