As workers continued hauling, pounding, installing and pouring Thursday, Minnesota United FC managing partner Bill McGuire looked out from the south end of a rising Allianz Field and fast-forwarded to a year from now. “It’s going to be impressive,” said the man who is in charge of the team and building this $200 million, privately financed stadium.
In many ways, it already is.
During a media tour of what will be the 19,400-seat St. Paul Midway home of the Loons, Mortenson Co. executive Greg Huber said the stadium is about 40 percent complete and is on schedule and on budget. Even during the coldest months of winter, anywhere from 125 to 200 workers have been on site up to six days a week, installing structural steel, pouring concrete and placing the concrete blocks that will complete the interior walls.
The plan, said Huber, is to start installing the LED-lit translucent fabric “skin” that will sheath the stadium in May, finish structural steel work in June and begin laying the sod — now being grown in Colorado — on the pitch of the open-air stadium in October.
By this time next February, he said, Mortenson will “turn over the keys” to McGuire, who said he will then give them to the city of St. Paul. While McGuire and United are paying to build the stadium, which sits mostly on land leased from the Metropolitan Council adjacent to the Midway Shopping Center near Interstate 94 and Snelling Avenue, the city will own the stadium. The western half of the shopping center was torn down to accommodate the stadium.
The city and the soccer team have big redevelopment plans for the area around the stadium, including updated streets and an unusual stormwater management system. City officials last year agreed to spend $18.4 million on infrastructure; in November, the City Council voted to contribute another $4 million for the 34.5-acre site.
Minnesota United, which is about to start its second season as a member of Major League Soccer in a couple of weeks at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, will begin play at Allianz Field in the spring of 2019.
While it was filled with dirt, gravel and construction equipment and rolling trucks Thursday, the area just to the north of the stadium will be a parklike plaza, called the Great Lawn. It is less than a block from the Green Line’s Snelling Avenue light rail station on University Avenue.