Hopes Renewed for Minnesota United Stadium Progress

by on 2 December 2016

Autumn in Minnesota has been mild, but it has been a cold and desolate fall for Minnesota United news. Dr. Bill McGuire had repeatedly expressed hopes that there would be some sort of activity on the stadium site in the fall; the site remains an undisturbed dirt lot. But it seems that movement before the New Year is very possible.

In announcing he would not seek another term, Saint Paul Mayor boasted that the stadium would have a groundbreaking “very soon.” Wes Burdine tweeted out that Coleman said “a few weeks,” which wasn’t quite correct. However, in checking on this news, a source close to the project confirmed that indeed there would be a groundbreaking likely before the holidays.

This news comes just as legislative reporters say that a special session is increasingly likely. This is good news for the team who have been held up by the larger bonding bill.

While the oncoming Minnesota winter means it is unlikely that Minnesota United will be able to move on more than just a ceremonial groundbreaking, any news is good news for the club.

The news also comes as the Star Tribune reports that Minnesota United has been exploring options of playing some matches at the new US Bank Stadium. We wrote about the possibility that the Loons would need an indoor venue in their back pocket way back in April of 2015. In that article Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michelle Kelm-Helgen, told us that McGuire has spoken to her about the possible use of the new stadium back in the summer of 2012.

Will Minnesota United Need An Enclosed Stadium Alternative When Moving to MLS?

The Minnesota Vikings are apparently now threatening legal action in response to United’s interest. The Vikings claim that they “Invested $609 million to make this building soccer ready and make it a great fan experience” and secured rights to “establish” an MLS club in the stadium in exchange.

While it is impressive that the Vikings, who were estimated to be spending $572 million of their own money on the stadium, ended up spending $609 million to make the stadium ready for soccer, the question at hand is whether they are allowed to prevent someone else’s MLS team from using the stadium, which they do not own. The meaning of the word “establish” would appear key to any future legal action. In that previous link we explored the legal ramifications of the loons using the stadium with the legislative wording of the bill.

The pursuit of playing some matches at US Bank Stadium, however, is not related at all to the new Midway stadium. A source indicates that the team is only pursuing US Bank Stadium to expand options, including something like playing a playoff match at the larger stadium. Montreal Impact, for example, have used Olympic Stadium for major events, such as last week’s playoff match.

Let’s hope Minnesota United have “established” a hole in the ground at the Midway site before it comes to that.

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  • Spence

    You mean “The Minnesota United”?
    “scratches chalkboard*

  • Marcia Seelhoff

    I believe the legislative provision pertinent to the stadium is in the tax bill, not the bonding bill…?

    • Alex Schieferdecker

      Yes. But the bonding bill impasse over light rail funding is what had kept the special session from being called and the tax bill from being passed without the error that prevented Dayton’s signature last time.

  • Benjamin MacKenzie

    Is there any specific reason to push for a special session before the new year rather than just fold it into new business in the 2017 session? (I’m not complaining, just intrigued by the stratagems of local politicians)