In what could be a significant move in the development of the new Minnesota United FC stadium, the St. Paul Port Authority is closer to an agreement for a nearby site.
On Tuesday, the Port Authority’s credit committee granted preliminary approval on a master lease agreement between the Port Authority and RK Midway for the Midway Shopping Center property. The plan, which allows the Port Authority to become a master tenant, has numerous steps to complete before it is finished. Officials are expressing their desire to see the Port Authority partner with a private developer on the project, thus preventing a situation in which the Port Authority owns the location for an extended period.
Having the Midway Shopping Center site accounted for would be a major step in the redevelopment proposal for the area surrounding the new stadium. The shopping center accounts for 15.6 of the 34.5 that are slated to be used in the project, and a portion of the property overlaps with the site of the new stadium.
Officials stressed that Tuesday’s vote does not finalize the plan, but expressed optimism that a suitable agreement will be reached. More from The Pioneer Press:
[Port Authority president Lee] Krueger said the Port Authority has spoken with 12 to 15 developers since last May in hopes of persuading them to breathe new life into the aged strip mall and surrounding parcels. Interest has been high in the corners of the site bordering Snelling Avenue, but marketing all 35 acres has been a tough sell.
Officials said the goal is to have a developer or development partnership buy the strip mall outright, eliminating the Port Authority’s tenancy.
“I like the deal,” said Port Authority Commissioner John Regal. “I like it for a couple things. It sends another message to the state that we are rolling with this. … I am personally not in favor of us permanently owning a shopping center, but … (temporary ownership) is needed for us to stimulate (development) as a conduit.”
Minnesota United FC is joining the MLS as an expansion team for the 2017 season, and is slated to play at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis until the new stadium is complete. On its current schedule, the St. Paul stadium is expected to be finished either during the 2018 MLS season or by the 2019 campaign.
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