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United ownership releases new renderings of St. Paul soccer stadium

A rendering of the soccer stadium looking east.

Owners of the proposed Major League Soccer expansion franchise have released new architectural renderings and site plans for a soccer-specific stadium it hopes to build in the Midway area of St. Paul.

It is the second run at a stadium design by the Kansas City-based architectural firm Populous. The new renderings show a different take on the translucent skin that will wrap around the stadium and encase the seating area. The skin is designed to contain LED lights that can change color depending on the event. The renderings also give more detail for two plazas being planned close to the stadium — currently designated United Champions Plaza and Victory Plaza.

The updated renderings were presented Thursday by principal owner Bill McGuire during the final meeting of a Community Advisory Committee, which is advising the city of St. Paul about the development of the stadium and redevelopment of the adjacent shopping center. The site is north of Interstate 94 between Snelling Avenue and Pascall Avenue. University Avenue and the Green Line light rail station are at the far north edge of the shopping center.

Minnesota United FC soccer stadium Opening Day site plan
Minnesota United FC soccer stadium Opening Day site plan

The new site plans reveal something else not in earlier designs. Two parcels between the stadium and Snelling Avenue had previously been shown having commercial buildings sites as part of the broader redevelopment of the RK Midway Shopping Center. In the latest renderings, though, they are shown as “temporary surface parking — event use only.” The two lots separated by a new road connecting Snelling to the stadium property would have 220 spaces.

A lot east of the stadium had been shown as surface parking before and continues to be. That was to be permanent parking for players, team officials and employees.

The stadium will be built primarily on property owned by the Met Council and had been used as a bus storage and maintenance facility. It is now vacant, though some bus storage remains. It will be leased to the city and, in turn, sublet to the team. 

A view of the soccer stadium from the north lawn.
A view of the soccer stadium from the north lawn.

The stadium itself would be sunken down 16 feet below grade to reduce its apparent height to between 70 and 75 feet. The price tag for the stadium has been estimated at $150 million and will be paid by the team owners. It is expected to seat up to 23,500 people,. Including some 3,000 in the terrace.

A rendering of United Champions Plaza south of the stadium.
A rendering of United Champions Plaza south of the stadium.

During the just-completed — for now, at least — 2016 session of the state Legislature, lawmakers passed two of the three requests made by the team and St. Paul officials. It include a property tax exemption for the land and the stadium (as part of a tax bill) and gave the stadium a liquor license in a separate bill. Not adopted was forgiveness of sales taxes for construction materials, though the exemption can be applied for later under existing state law for projects of regional significance, including sports stadiums.

The tax bill has yet to be signed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Comments (16)

  1. Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 05/27/2016 - 02:42 pm.

    Pulled the wool right over our eyes

    When the original stadium was sold to the public, see pic in above link, the whole block was to be developed to suit the neighborhood. I loved it.

    But it looks like it will be a stadium, with LED lights, surrounded by gray parking lots.

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 05/27/2016 - 02:57 pm.

      Can you imagine…

      a worse use of space along Snelling and University and the Green Line than surface parking lots?

      I can’t.


      • Submitted by Scott Kerssen on 05/27/2016 - 04:02 pm.

        Actually Read The Article…

        And actually look at the illustration. It clearly says in both “TEMPORARY SURFACE PARKING”. As RK Midway finalizes their plans for the surrounding development, they will allow Minnesota United to utilize the space for stadium parking. Then as RK Midway starts actual construction, they will build where this TEMPORARY parking is currently planned.

        • Submitted by Wayne Coppock on 05/27/2016 - 04:33 pm.

          And they’re under no obligation to actually follow through with those plans. They can call it temporary and we’ll still have worthless parking in 20 years if they feel like it. Any tax write off should be contingent on actually developing those parcels within a certain time-frame of the back taxes are due in full with interest and penalties. But that would make too much sense for our CEO-loving legislators to do.

          • Submitted by Scott Kerssen on 05/27/2016 - 04:57 pm.

            I Think You Are Getting Your “They”s Confused

            The development of anywhere on that site beyond the actual 10 acres of “bus barn” site is the responsibility and choice of RK Midway, who owns the land that surrounds the stadium. RK Midway is NOT getting any tax write-offs in this deal. Why should Minnesota United get penalized for the remote chance that the surrounding land THAT THEY DO NOT OWN AND HAVE NO CONTROL OVER will not be developed within a certain set time.

            As for the unlikely eventuality of RK Midway not developing the surrounding area, considering that they have publicly announced they would, what reason, barring a financial collapse as in 2007-08, would they not develop it?

            If you have ANY evidence at all that RK Midway will not follow through on their public commitment, then please present it.

    • Submitted by Jim Buscher on 05/27/2016 - 03:42 pm.

      RK Midway and United Properties still plans to redevelop the full site. NO ONE said it was going to happen immediately. They are trying to relocate the current tenants as best they can as well. They said when it was first unveiled they for see a 5-10 year build out for the full site.

      • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 05/27/2016 - 04:35 pm.


        I know they have a long term plan, but the stadium was sold to the public via their initial drawings. Now we realize, that among other things, some of the green space they presented to us may or may not happen. I think they misrepresented what we will be getting.

        I have been impressed by Gold Medal Park, that Bill took the lead on, and I was hoping for something more than the small square of grass presented in their new drawings.

        • Submitted by Scott Kerssen on 05/27/2016 - 05:44 pm.

          An Explanation

          Patience, Grasshopper.

          The initial drawings were an approximate expectation of all the participants involved as to what the 35 acres will look like upon the completion of the ENTIRE development.

          The illustration above is the current plan for only the FIRST PHASE of that development, the stadium and the IMMEDIATE surrounding area.

          Only the stadium, the lawn, the North Terraces, the parking lot on the southeast corner and four plazas are expected to remain as the final product.

          EVERYTHING ELSE is expected to be dramatically altered from it’s current form. The current stripmall will be removed in it’s entirety, half for the stadium, the other half later. All those small building along University, gone. Most of the current surface parking, gone. The ULTIMATE final form that takes is not yet set in steel, cement and asphalt, as RK Midway lines up commitments from the various businesses that will be interested in setting up on the site.

          There may be a few semi-skyscrapers erected or there may be only one or two. There may be a health club or may be a movie theater. Or both or neither. The exact amount of office spaces and housing created has not been set.

          By the way, look at the illustration again. All the pale green you see is green space. Even in just the initial phase there will be more green than just “the lawn”. More is STILL planned.

          But now that the state has committed to this site (contingent on Governor Dayton signing the relevant bills), RK Midway can actually approach the potential businesses with an assurance that the stadium, on which RK Midway has publicly hinged it’s plans on, WILL be built, and therefore the surrounding land will be developed. Then those businesses can be given the opportunity to have some voice as to the design of the buildings.

          As mentioned elsewhere in the comments and elsewhere, only the stadium and the rest of the initial phase is expected to be complete by early 2018. The rest is expected to take between three and eight more years. While this parcel of land is much smaller than Rome, it still isn’t going to be built in a day.

        • Submitted by Jim Buscher on 05/27/2016 - 07:05 pm.

          It’s not hard to imagine the owners of the McDonalds and Perkins lobbied hard with RK to keep their businesses open until they had a new location to operate from. Its a little disappointing to not have the additional park space. But it’s also not a bad thing to still have those businesses, and their jobs, still in existence.

          The cynics keep wanting to insist the development won’t happen or get stalled. Well that could be true even if instead of a stadium, they had other high rises located where the stadium will be built. We just have to have a little faith and optimism the market will be there.

  2. Submitted by Jim Buscher on 05/27/2016 - 02:44 pm.

    We shouldn’t be too surprised at these changes. No one realistically expected all those buildings to be built by opening day. Should relieve some of the neighbor concerns about lack of parking. I’m sure McDonalds and Perkins wanted to stay open until a suitable new site is available for them to relocate too. I expect the SE corner at Uni/Snelling to at least have some dirt moving by the time the stadium opens. That’ll be a prime spot to develop first.

  3. Submitted by Bill Lindeke on 05/27/2016 - 04:04 pm.

    So the bowling alley is safe for now?

    I stopped by there this week to ask if they were closing and a crusty bartender said “nope.”

  4. Submitted by Jim Million on 05/27/2016 - 05:08 pm.

    Great Looking Sketch/Rendering!

    Wondering how the “as built” stadium will look after cost overrun alternates kick in.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/31/2016 - 02:09 pm.


      Exactly. I wonder how much they’ll have to “ug” it down to fit an actual realistic budget. Never mind the overall savings they might get by permanent replacement of green space with flat pavement. Of course, right now, I think it looks like a glow-in-the-dark sea cucumber, or one of the alien creatures from “The Abyss.”

  5. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/28/2016 - 06:48 am.

    Eggs and/or chickens

    Do we build stadiums so that we can have sports teams. Or do we have sports teams so we can build stadiums?

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 05/28/2016 - 12:17 pm.

      Restoration Sportswear

      Since retail shopping left for suburban malls, stadiums are built to restore the urban cores. Placement of all TC pro facilities makes that clear here.

  6. Submitted by Justin Heideman on 05/31/2016 - 10:58 am.

    It should be noted that the expansion to the Walker Art Center, completed in 2005 was supposed to have a glowing exterior much like the proposed shell of this stadium. It was cut for budget reasons and a complete lack of feasibility. So, take this plan with a large grain of salt.

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