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St. Paul to be Home to New Soccer Team, Stadium

4 Nov, 2015

By: Sports Destination Management Team
In Surprising Change of Pace, Minneapolis Falls Out of Favor

St. Paul, Minnesota, has been named one of the latest recipients of an MLS team; however, at the same time, it has now been named the new home of a forthcoming a 20,000-seat soccer stadium.

According to an article in Soccer America Daily, the selection of St. Paul was something of a surprise. Back in March, MSL announced it would add a team in Minnesota. At the time, it was largely assumed the team would play in Minneapolis, with the intended location being an industrial site near the Minneapolis Farmers Market.

However, noted Soccer America Daily, “it quickly discovered the power of stadium fatigue, which political forces used to stall a Minneapolis deal.”

As a result, read the article,

“the following months were spent exploring options. In the end, it was decided the team would build its new facility at the Snelling-Midway site between University Avenue and Interstate 94 in St. Paul. The completion date for the stadium, which will feature a grass field, is 2018.

“By all measures important to soccer fans throughout the Twin Cities metro and the state, as well as the needs of the team and Major League Soccer, this is a great location for an iconic soccer facility that will house the MLS franchise in Minnesota,” team owner William McGuire said in a statement. “Located between two great downtowns, situated along multiple transit options and the interstate, and in the heart of a dynamic community, this site provides us the opportunity to work in partnership with the city of St. Paul and the local community to establish top-tier professional soccer that will be readily accessible to everyone.”

The MLS team will privately finance the $120-million stadium, located five miles from downtown St. Paul and 7.5 miles from downtown Minnesota. In the spring, state and local government officials expressed opposition to any sort of public funding support for the stadium. That included opposition to the MLS team seeking breaks on sales taxes for construction materials, which would have added up to several million dollars in savings. Forget that it flew in the face of Minnesota's long-standing support of throwing taxpayer money after sports stadium projects.

What has changed is local opposition to tax breaks. Seemingly dooming the project in her city, Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges opposed requests for breaks on sales taxes for construction materials or exemptions on property taxes, terming them public subsidies. Plans call for the St. Paul stadium site to remain tax-exempt, which would save the MLS team on annual property taxes.

Most importantly, the St. Paul city council and Ramsey County passed resolutions supporting a continuation of tax-exempt status for the site, the signal Minnesota senate majority leader Tom Bakk said he needs for the state legislature to consider giving its approval. “

Read the full article here.

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