Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer, said Monday afternoon that he "really like[s]" the St. Paul Midway site identified by Minnesota team officials as their preference for an 18,500-seat stadium.
Garber was in St. Paul Monday to tour the site and meet with Mayor Chris Coleman and Gov. Mark Dayton about the site, which has emerged as potentially the best location for the Minnesota major league soccer franchise awarded Bill McGuire and his investment group last winter.
In a 10-minute interview with Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse broadcast Monday afternoon on ESPN 1500 radio, Garber said that he likes the location of the St. Paul site, about midway between the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and that although the land issues are complicated, "It seems like it really makes sense to me."
Garber noted that it's centrally located, it's an open piece of land and it's on the light-rail line and Interstate 94.
But he made it clear that St. Paul is not yet a done deal. No decisions have been made yet, and agreements must be finalized with all parties before the league begins thinking about when the Minnesota team would begin playing and where they would play before a new stadium opens.
Garber and Coleman will talk to reporters at 6:15 p.m. in Mears Park, downtown St. Paul.
Sports Illustrated reported on its website Monday, without attribution, that Garber’s St. Paul visit was a possible precursor to the commissioner giving the city a "thumbs-up” to the team's plans to build an 18,500-seat soccer stadium in the Midway district.
Sports Illustrated reported Monday that construction of a Minnesota stadium could be finished by early 2018.
The Star Tribune reported two weeks ago that St. Paul appeared to be the choice of team officials as the new home for its stadium. The $150 million project would be build on a transit-friendly 10-acre site on Snelling Avenue near Interstate 94 in the Midway district that once was used for a bus facility.
Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035