ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – When Minnesota United owner Bill McGuire looks out at the future site of the team’s stadium now, he sees “a pretty barren, aesthetically unappealing piece of land.”

But he also sees an exciting future on the 34-and-a-half acre site. Who knew so much optimism could be inspired by a big pile of dirt.

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“It’s pretty exciting. It’s a great opportunity,” McGuire said.

McGuire’s vision for the stadium is starting to take shape, with plans being put into place for exactly how it will be built.

“There are a number of features on this that we were after. Something that would speak to the state of Minnesota, and who we are.

“Curves and curve-linear designs, rather than rigid structural things, that representing rivers and lakes and water, so to speak.” McGuire said.

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But the stadium is only part of McGuire’s broader vision for the site. He said he’s planning “redevelopment of the whole area…a combination of office space, retail, residential housing and entertainment.

“This provides a catalyst. There’s no question that if a stadium doesn’t go in here, I suspect none of this will happen,” he said.

There’s also skepticism that if a stadium does go in here, it still won’t. Some say that it’s just not realistic to expect that you can develop around a soccer stadium in this part of town. So why does McGuire think it can work here?

“It’s a great location. It’s between, almost center – that’s why they call it the Midway, between the two great cities. It’s got all kinds of transportation.

“It’s a big space, it needs something. It’s got some great communities around it, that all would like more,” he said.

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McGuire said realizing that part of the vision will take longer than the stadium itself, which the team plans to open 2018.