I just got back from a Allianz Field site tour, so I wanted to give you a little update on what's up.
According to project manager Greg Huber, the 20,000-seat soccer-specific stadium in the Midway area of St. Paul is just past 50 percent complete. The crew is still targeting a Feb. 22 completion date and is on track and on budget to meet that, per Huber. Yes, the lingering winter did put a bit of a wrench in those plans, but Huber said with the hard-working crew pulling some overtime, nothing was too delayed.
Those workers will actually grow from about 225 to 325 in the next month. Here's what will be happening imminently:
-finishing up the structural steel and concrete pouring as well as continuing work on enclosing the whole stadium
-installing mechanical and electrical features on the locker room level.
-the videoboard will be delivered by mid-May and the speaker system is on its way the second week of May.
-seat brackets are coming by the end of May with the actual seats coming in the middle of June.
-supporters' section rail installation is set for the third week of June.
-the ribbon steel on the exterior, which Huber called the most technical element of the stadium, is about 60 percent done.
-the crew has started the brackets for the PTFE screen, the cool thing that will light up the outside of the stadium, and should have the first panel installed by May 14. The lights that illuminate the facade will also be tested with that, too.
All this is leading up to installing the sod by mid-October, so the grass has enough time to root for the season to start in the spring of 2019.
Speaking of, team owner Bill McGuire said while the league will decide exactly when Minnesota United's home opener at Allianz Field will be, he suspects it will come sometime around early April. And that will likely be the first event at the new stadium. McGuire said while the club is talking about hosting another event as a sort of soft opening, anything major would be hard to do because of the grass and wanting to make sure that's in peak condition for United.
He also said the plan is for the neighboring Big Top Liquors to move into the Perkins Building by Sept. 1, which will give the city enough time do the work it needs to do along Snelling Avenue.
I'll leave you with this quote from McGuire, when asked if he thinks Allianz Field will be one of the best stadiums in the country once it's done.
"I think it will be the best," he said. "Not one of."
Check out my Twitter for some more pics and videos!