ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — We learned Thursday that Major League Soccer may be coming to St. Paul rather than Minneapolis.
This morning, Mayor Chris Coleman announced he’s invited the MLS president to visit St. Paul and check out some land where a new soccer stadium could be built. The 14.7 acre site is in the Midway area, along Snelling and University avenues.
It includes the former bus barn site operated by Metro Transit, and land that’s been vacant for decades.
Now that the July 1 deadline for finalizing a stadium proposal with Minneapolis has passed, St. Paul is hoping to lure the Minnesota United to a more central location.
“So we are making a really serious, genuine attempt right now to say this is the best site in the Twin Cities,” Matt Kramer with the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce said.
Kramer is the president of the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce.
“We are standing, if you wanted to take a push pin and a piece of yarn and say I want to be midway between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul, we’re there. We’re midway between the two cities,” Kramer said.
He says with the light rail line running along one side of the property, and Interstate 94 along the other, transportation shouldn’t be a problem. Also unlike the proposed downtown Minneapolis farmer’s market site, some of this land has been vacant and off the tax rolls for decades.
“In Minneapolis, it’s tax-producing land that would have to be taken off the tax rolls. Here the bus barn parcel, 12 acres, has not produced a penny of tax, for the city or county or state in over 50 years,” Kramer said.
The adjacent Midway Shopping Center could get folded into the proposed site, expanding it to 34 acres. Kramer and the mayor say if St. Paul lands the soccer stadium, the entire metro area wins.
“The last thing we want to see is Major League Soccer award this franchise to Sacramento or Miami, which are rumored to be the two other cities in the mix. We want Major League Soccer in the Twin Cities,” Kramer said.
In a telephone interview, Mayor Coleman said he doesn’t have an exact date for when the MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott will visit, but he believes is will be in the next two or three weeks.