There is an end in sight for the saga of tax exemptions for Minnesota United's soccer-specific stadium, which now appears most likely to open for play in 2019.
After passing the House of Representatives earlier this week and then eventually the Senate, the bill including United's stadium tax breaks passed the House again on Thursday before arriving to Governor Mark Dayton on Friday. Dayton has until Tuesday at midnight to decide on the bills but is "generally undecided" on whether to sign them all, according to Star Tribune reporter Rochelle Olson.
United president Nick Rogers had said Thursday that he's confident these tax breaks, which have been in the works for more than a year, will be "acted into law in the near future."
"The tax thing, we said from the beginning since we went down the path with St. Paul that we were extremely confident that this was going to get done. And we weren’t going to let that be an impediment to us moving forward," Rogers said. "What we're doing now … we're really just trying to finalize a construction schedule, and there's a lot of back and forth that happens with that. We're focused on a schedule that gets us to a new open building for the beginning of the 2019 season, and we just want to make sure we’ve got that buttoned up. So that’s kind of what we’re working on with Mortenson right now."
United was previously holding out for a possible opening sometime during the 2018 season,but it looks like the 2019 opener is now the goal.
Team owner Bill McGuire is scheduled to speak to the media at halftime of United's 7 p.m. Saturday match against Orlando City SC at TCF Bank Stadium to give more concrete updates.
Also, starting center-back and team captain Francisco Calvo said he will be gone after this week's match and won't return until June 14. His Costa Rican national team has two World Cup qualifiers June 8 against Panama and June 13 against Trinidad and Tobago, where he will likely faceoff with teammate Kevin Molino. This means Calvo will miss the June 3 match at Sporting Kansas City and likely the June 14 U.S. Open Cup match also at Kansas City, though he probably would have rested the latter match anyway.