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12-2625 U.S. v. Head, appealed from District of Minnesota, Loken, J.

Preliminary soccer stadium agreement could come next month

The St. Paul City Council could see a Major League Soccer stadium development and use agreement as soon as next month.

Team owners, led by former UnitedHealth Group CEO Bill McGuire, haven’t set a firm deadline for the presentation but are apparently looking for a quick resolution to negotiations with the city. Tonya Tennessen, spokesperson for Mayor Chris Coleman, confirmed the prospective timeline on Friday.

In the months after that, the city and team owners will hash out a master development plan.

McGuire and the other owners of Minnesota United FC agreed last month to bankroll a $120 million facility at the site of a former Metro Transit bus maintenance facility in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood, near Snelling and University avenues. The decision came after previous plans to build in Minneapolis fell apart.

The stadium itself would sit on the 10-acre “bus barn” property, currently owned by the Metropolitan Council. But the city’s project plans lump in about 25 surrounding acres, currently home to a shopping mall and surface parking, that it expects will benefit from stadium-spurred redevelopment.

Several developers are already circling land near the stadium, owned by New York-based RK Midway. Richard Birdoff, who oversees the company, did not outline specifics but affirmed last month that the new soccer facility significantly expands options for the site.

St. Paul’s team of negotiators in ongoing stadium talks includes City Finance Director Todd Hurley, City Attorney Jerry Hendrickson and Deputy Mayor Kristin Beckmann. In addition, the city hired McGrann Shea Carival Straughn & Lamb, a Minneapolis law firm with experience in stadium-related matters.

The city’s approach is standard for large-scale real estate deals, Tennessen said. Issues currently on the table include the city’s financial commitments to the project, which will require infrastructure upgrades and other site improvements.

Preliminary plans for the site don’t include much additional parking, McGuire said last month. Instead, he said, the project will tap into extensive transit options nearby, including the Green Line light rail transit route along University Avenue and the forthcoming bus rapid transit line on Snelling Avenue.

A community advisory committee will meet for the first time next month to evaluate and steer site plans.

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