This probably took a lot longer than anyone anticipated or desired, but the long-awaited Allianz Field redevelopment at the home of Minnesota United FC (MLS) is finally happening–and it’s punctuated by a three-story loon sculpture.
The sculpture and a one-acre public park are part of the next phase of the United Village development at Snelling and University avenues in St. Paul, a 35-acre site that the contains Allianz Field as well as the remnants of the Midway Shopping Center. When Allianz Field opened in 2019, it was as much a development play as a sports-venue play for both the city of St. Paul and the Minnesota United FC ownership. The COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd riots obviously impacted the proceedings.
Now, however, the development and site work is underway. The announcement of the 33 feet high, 88 feet wide loon sculpture from the internationally renowned Andy Scott will serve as a live punctuation point to the new park, compared by Minnesota United FC to the lovely Gold Medal Park next to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis’s Downtown East area. (He should know; he was a driving force behind the creation of Gold Medal Park as well.) A description from Minnesota United FC:
The sculpture will sit in a public park designed by the world-renowned architectural firm Populous, who also designed Allianz Field, the centerpiece of United Village. The new sculpture will form a cornerstone of the next phase of the United Village development that will also include a unique all-abilities children’s play area, a distinctive hotel designed to reflect the Midway area and its history, two pavilion restaurants overlooking an existing “Great Lawn”, a sustainable mixed-use building that includes offices and a community social area, and extensive landscaping. Other public artworks in the development include two outdoor sculptures – the iconic UNITED sculpture that sits at the southwest corner of Allianz Field, and OMNIS by widely acclaimed American artist James Sanborn. Additional public art installations are contemplated for the development.
And while the loon and the park are great additions to the Midway, the biggest news is that they are part of $160 million of investment into the first phase of United Village development, which will include a new hotel, an office building and two restaurants. Additional phases will include housing. We’ve seen pockets of development near the stadium–there are plenty of new apartments to the west of Allianz Field, and across the free there’s been plenty of new construction and rehabbed buildings at the corner of Snelling and Selby avenues. Still, there’s plenty more work to do on the economic front in the stadium area.
Rendering courtesy Snelling-Midway Redevelopment Group.