Final Land Hurdle Cleared for MN United Stadium

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota United’s owner Bill McGuire cleared the final hurdle standing in the way of the construction of a soccer specific stadium on Friday, just ahead of St. Paul’s deadline.

McGuire, the former UnitedHealth CEO bought out the mortgage for the Rainbow Foods on site, with plans to demolish the building, reports the Pioneer Press. The building will be cleared in order to make room for a portion of the north side of the stadium.

The St. Paul and McGuire had an agreement giving him until Sunday to gain control of the shopping center to move the privately financed stadium project. The cost of construction will be roughly $200 million. The only direct public contribution to the stadium project will be $18 million from the city of St. Paul and other source for cleanup and infrastructure costs for the area in and around the site of the stadium, reports the Pioneer Press.

The state is also giving the stadium construction project both sales and property tax breaks. Property tax breaks have been granted to every professional and college sports stadium construction projects in Minnesota since 1998, the Pioneer Press reported.

Currently the stadium is projected to be finished in time for the 2019 season, with Minnesota United leasing the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium for home games for 2017 and 2018.

Munich-based company Allianz Life Insurance struck a 12-year sponsorship deal for naming rights of the stadium, reported Finance & Commerce. The bowl shaped stadium is expected to include 19,400 seats. Minnesota United’s has an average attendance of 20,134 at TCF Bank Stadium so far in 2017. That ranks 12th of Major League Soccer’s 22 teams, and is below the league-wide average of 21,572. That number is inflated by the huge average home numbers of Seattle Sounders FC and Atlanta United FC, both of which are in excess of 42,000.

Anders Koskinen