MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The city of St. Paul scored a major league soccer victory Friday.
It is now home to the new Major League Soccer franchise Minnesota United — with a new 20,000-seat soccer stadium.READ MORE: 'We Don't Have To Do It': Mask Mandate Confusion Abound In Twin Cities
The new stadium will be at Interstate 94 and Snelling Avenue, on vacant land where there used to be a bus maintenance facility.
“Soccer is the world’s game,” St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said. “It belongs in the State of Minnesota, it belongs in the Twin Cities and it belongs on the Midway site.”
The privately-owned stadium on a 10-acre bus graveyard will cost $120 million, privately financed by team owners.
“It is also a large enough site that it affords us the ability to build a stadium that is expandable in the future,” Minnesota United FC owner Dr. Bill Maguire said.READ MORE: Police Reform A Major Sticking Point As Legislative Session Nears Its End
The stadium would be exempt from property taxes, and team owners are seeking a sales tax exemption on construction materials — both important subsidies.
But critics say the public should not pay a single dime for the project.
“Why should we continue as the public to keep subsidizing what will be a private venture?” St. Paul City Council candidate Tom Goldstein said. “We’re already subsidizing so much. We need to get these properties back on the property tax rolls so in theory we start easing the burden on everyone else.”
Location is important; the busy intersection of Interstate 94 and Snelling Avenue. And it is a block away from a Green Line light rail stop.
Fans who may have wanted a Minneapolis stadium say the St. Paul site has great potential.MORE NEWS: Minnesota Weather: 80-Degree High Expected Monday; Summery And Damp Week Ahead
Construction on the new stadium is scheduled to begin next spring, and the team hopes it will be finished in time for the 2018 season.