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Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
The Minnesota United soccer team plans to hold a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for its stadium in St. Paul.
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, along with United owner Bill McGuire and Mayor Chris Coleman, will attend the event.
Things have been quiet at the future stadium site in St. Paul's Snelling-Midway neighborhood since August, when the City Council approved a site plan and Garber announced the United would begin playing in the country's highest-tier professional league in 2017.
At that time, McGuire said he expected to have the $150 million stadium completed "sometime in 2018."
The bulk of the 20,000-seat building would be located on an empty site owned by the Metropolitan Council, where buses used to be stored. But part of the stadium site plan overlaps with the property next to the Met Council land, which is owned by RK Midway and contains the Midway Shopping Center.
United owners have been in negotiations with RK Midway about how to handle the property. McGuire has been mum on the land deal, but said at an event in September that the businesses and people working at shopping center site, along with community expectations, have made the project complex.
The St. Paul Port Authority, an economic development organization that works closely with the city, deemed the stadium site an industrial development district this fall. That allows the Port Authority to potentially buy or lease the land if negotiations between the shopping center owners and the soccer team fail.
The Port's Board of Commissioners has not signed off on any purchase or lease deal, and there is no such action planned yet, Port Authority President Lee Krueger said.
United spokesman Eric Durkee said more information about the negotiations with RK Midway and construction would be provided next week. He did not comment further Tuesday.
Rick Birdoff, principal and president of the company that owns the shopping center site, could not be reached for comment.
The United plan to play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium while soccer stadium construction is underway in St. Paul.
This fall McGuire also looked into playing home games at U.S. Bank Stadium, Durkee said. That upset the Minnesota Vikings, who said they had been shut out of discussions about the potential use of the stadium, and threatened to sue the state agency that manages U.S. Bank Stadium.
Monday's groundbreaking will be held at 2 p.m. at 415 N. Pascal St.
In addition to United and MLS officials, youth soccer players will participate in the event. As part of the team's playing and use agreement with the city, the United would allow the public to use the stadium for some community events, recreational soccer games and high school soccer championships.
Staff writer Rochelle Olson contributed to this report.
Jessie Van Berkel · 612-673-4649
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