MLS President Mark Abbott is scheduled to meet with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman about a potential new Minnesota United FC stadium in the city’s Midway area — a site pitched by Coleman as an alternative to a downtown Minneapolis location.
Though United ownership, which includes Dr. Bill McGuire and Pohlad family members (who own the Minnesota Twins and buidings near Target Field), is still holding out hope on a new soccer stadium in the Minneapolis warehouse area, Coleman has put on an impressive push for a St. Paul MLS stadium. Several sites were proposed, but it looks like a Midway location at Snelling University and I-94 has emerged as the favorite.
The site is a former Metro Transit bus station, with lots of freeway access and light rail just three blocks north on University Avenue. (You could rename this line the Sports Line: it also serves CHS Field, Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium and U.S. Bank Stadium) While the location is good, the issue for United ownership could be whether there is any potential for additional commercial development. The real-estate arm of the Pohlad family, United Properties, has leveraged Target Field and the Twins into additional investments in the area and would presumably do so near a soccer stadium. While there’s plenty of development possibilities in the Target Field area, there may be less so in the Snelling Avenue proximity: the proposed stadium is hemmed in by the freeway to the south, a strip mall to the north, more retail to the east and mostly residential to the west. It may be time for the ancient strip mall to go, of course, which would open a sea of redevelopment bridging the ballpark and one of the busiest intersections (Snelling and University) in the Twin Cities. That would be in line with other development in the area: just blocks south of the proposed stadium site on Snelling Avenue (at Selby) is a large retail/residential development featuring a Whole Foods.
Image of Minnesota United FC’s current stadium courtesy of the team.