Monday marked a milestone for Minnesota United FC, as the franchise broke ground on its new stadium in St. Paul.
When the United joins the MLS in 2017, it will play its home games at TCF Bank Stadium, but that facility will be used as a stopover until the new stadium in St. Paul opens. The stadium, which is unlikely to host a full season until 2019, is located in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood and is expected to anchor a mixed-use development that spans more than 34 acres.
The event on Monday was for early prep work, as construction is not expected to be in full swing until at least the spring. However, the gathering–which included United owner Bill McGuire, MLS commissioner Don Garber, and local officials–included the unveiling of some design changes to the facility. More from the Pioneer Press:
The new renderings include a few changes from earlier designs. The stadium has been lowered an additional 4 feet, reducing or eliminating the need for upward steps to enter the facility, and the field will be sunk 18 feet into the ground. The peak of the canopy will reach 78 feet above existing ground level, about two-thirds of the height of the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.
“The idea is to not let it overwhelm,” McGuire said.
A fact sheet released at the media briefing describes a total capacity of 19,916 fans, with built-in expansion room allowing a future capacity of 24,474 fans. The stadium will have 25 suites, 38 semi-private seats known as loge boxes, and four club rooms. It will be 660 feet long at its longest point, and occupy 346,000 square feet of built space.
While the bowl-shaped stadium will not be capped, 84 percent of seats will sit under a partial roof covering. To allow natural light onto the grass, the latest renderings trim the roof so it does not extend over the field, but seating and roofing have been extended further away from the playing surface.
The overhang has “been expanded in the back, trimmed a little in the front,” McGuire said.
Minnesota will join the MLS in 2017, along with Atlanta.
Renderings courtesy Minnesota United FC.
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