Minnesota Utd: $150M stadium to be built with private funding


The owner of Minnesota United has said the club will buy the land and build a $150 million, 18,500-seater stadium without any direct public funding.

Bill McGuire made the announcement Tuesday afternoon after meetings with Minnesota lawmakers, and in a press release on the club's website said the $250 million needed to fund the club's entry to Major League Soccer by 2018 will be met from private sources.

The club also said in a statement that the stadium project would create 1,900 construction jobs.

But McGuire did say the franchise would be looking for "economic development tools" to help build the stadium ahead of its entry to Major League Soccer in 2018.

These economic development tools are in the form of tax breaks on things like construction materials, rather than the kind of direct funding given by the state for the $1 billion Vikings Stadium.

The club also said it would look to "partner" with Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis on the associated infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate a new stadium.

McGuire and other United executives met with Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk on Tuesday to discuss plans for a stadium adjacent to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market, near Target Field, the total cost of which is expected to hit $150 million. The club will also pay a $100 million franchise fee to MLS.

Gov. Mark Dayton said at a press conference that the club wants tax exemptions relating to construction costs, materials and supplies, and property tax relief, the Pioneer Press reports.

FOX 9's Tim Blotz reported that the governor said the private investment being put together by the franchise's owners is "substantial."

Important week for United

The club's entry to Major League Soccer is contingent on a stadium being built within the next three years, and club executives are expected to present their plans for a site near Target Field by July 1.

The club is seeking to address this week what level of support will be available, which is why McGuire met with Bakk and Dayton, and plans to meet Republican House Leader Kurt Daudt.

Ever since the MLS announcement the noises made from lawmakers have not been encouraging, with Bakk re-iterating on Monday that he doesn't think there's any desire for public funding to be put toward yet another stadium – particularly in the wake of the state's $500 million outlay on the Vikings' new home.

Bakk's comments echo similar statements made by Gov. Dayton in recent weeks, who according to WCCO has ruled out public funding for stadium construction, but did leave the door open on using public money to pay for infrastructure around the stadium site.

Upon hearing United's plans to ask for tax breaks from the state, Bakk said it faces a difficult passage through the Senate.

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