Minnesota United has agreed a deal with the City of St. Paul to build its new, 20,000-seat stadium at the Snelling-Midway site.
Announced to cheers from Minnesota United fans at a press conference Friday, Mayor Chris Coleman and club owner Bill McGuire confirmed their plans for St. Paul to play host to the team when it enters Major League Soccer in 2018.
"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 in a press release.
McGuire noted the site is "located between two great downtowns" with plenty of transit options, plus a "dynamic community" that will help establish a "top-tier" pro soccer team that's accessible to everyone.
Minnesota United was awarded an MLS franchise in March – the initial plans at the time included building a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis, likely near the Farmer's Market.
But Minneapolis leaders proved reticent to provide the tax relief requested by the club, even though the United had pledged to fund the construction itself to the tune of an estimated $120 million.
Looking for an alternative site, St. Paul reached out with the Snelling-Midway possibility, which formerly housed the Met Council Bus Barn. It's attractive given its proximity to I-94 and the Green Line light rail.
Given that MLS initially approved United's entry to the top soccer league in the U.S. based on it having a stadium in Minneapolis, there was concern that it may be less than enthused about a switch to St. Paul. MLS Commissioner Don Garber seems to have allayed these fears however, commenting in the press release: "Today we are one step closer toward the debut of Major League Soccer in Minnesota.
"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."
St. Paul and Minnesota United have agreed that once built, the stadium will pass into public ownership, with the St. Paul City Council and Ramsey County agreeing to provide tax exempt status for it – though this will need to be approved by the state legislature.
Alongside the stadium, the area around Snelling-Midway is likely to undergo a wider transformation, with Mayor Coleman promising a regeneration that will "create jobs, spur housing" and create "new commercial opportunities."
"I am thrilled that the team wants to work with the community to build a stadium here in St. Paul. A soccer stadium will provide an important catalyst for the redevelopment of the entire area," he said. "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."
Minnesota United has launched a new stadium website, which you can visit here.