When MLS announced in March that it would add a team in Minnesota, the assumption was the team would play in Minneapolis -- specifically on an industrial site near the Minneapolis Farmers Market --
but it quickly discovered the power of stadium fatigue, which political forces used to stall a Minneapolis deal.
A lot changed over the next seven months, though, ending with the announcement on Friday that the team will build a 20,000-seat soccer stadium 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.”
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.