Mayor, team unveil design for Major League Soccer stadium in St. Paul

New soccer stadium rendering
Minnesota United FC's William McGuire and St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman on Wednesday unveiled renderings for the new home of Major League Soccer (MLS) in Minnesota, a 20,000 seat stadium in the Midway neighborhood
Minnesota United FC

Updated: 3:10 p.m. | Posted: 1:42 p.m.

Minnesota's soon-to-be Major League Soccer franchise has unveiled plans for its new home in St. Paul.

The team released renderings of the plan at a press conference Wednesday in downtown St. Paul, a week after team owner Bill McGuire presented plans for redevelopment of the 35 acres surrounding the soccer stadium at Snelling and University Avenues. The site is bordered by those two streets, Interstate 94 and Pascal Street.

McGuire told reporters the stadium will be wrapped in translucent PTFE polymer. It will have an oval roof over the stands and be open over the field.

It will seat 23,500 fans, plus standing room and cost around $150 million.

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"It's appropriately sized to the site, and consistent with the field and the state," McGuire said.

Bill McGuire unveils plans for soccer stadium.
Bill McGuire, former CEO of United Health and owner of the Minnesota United minor league soccer team, unveils plans for a new 20,000 seat stadium for his team in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood on Wednesday.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

The stadium will replace the National Sports Center stadium in Blaine, where the team plays now. Expected to open by 2018, the new stadium will be privately financed.

McGuire has agreed to build the facility and turn it over to the city of St. Paul, in part to avoid property taxes that could total more than $100 million over the expected lifespan of the stadium.

The deal hinges on a long-term lease on a former Metro Transit bus barn site, leveled more than a decade ago. More recently, it has been an empty lot that served as a staging area for the construction of the Green Line light rail and the A Line bus rapid transit service.

The Metropolitan Council is expected to approve the lease in principle at a meeting today.

The stadium deal is a key element of soccer's development in the state. Although Minnesota has long had professional teams, Minnesota United currently plays in the minor league North American Soccer League.

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced last year the league was awarding a franchise to McGuire's ownership group, which included members of the Pohlad family, who own the Twins and a major real estate developer in the Twin Cities.

That initial deal called for a new MLS stadium near Target Field. But a lukewarm reception from Minneapolis officials sent the team looking for greener turf, and St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman managed to lure them to his city.

Minnesota United has chosen Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous to design its new facility. The firm also designed TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field and was a contender in the bids to design the new Vikings stadium.

Other arenas and stadiums in the Twin Cities and their costs:

• Target Center, 1990: $104 million

• Xcel Energy Center, 2000: $170 million

• TCF Bank Stadium, 2009: $289 million

• Target Field, 2010: $555 million

• CHS Field, 2015: $65 million

• US Bank Stadium, July 2016: $1.1 billion