People would be able to shop, live, work out, lounge in a plaza and go to a movie in an “urban village” around the proposed soccer stadium in St. Paul, if a vision presented Thursday becomes a reality.
Dr. Bill McGuire, owner of the Minnesota United FC, discussed the plan for a mixed-use development around his professional soccer team’s stadium, which is being designed for the Midway neighborhood.
Community members who attended the advisory committee meeting Thursday praised the mix of uses and plans for green space and bicycle lanes, but remained wary about how the plans will unfold.
There’s “a lot of excitement,” committee co-chairman Eric Molho said, “But the devil is in the details.”
Those details — on hot-button topics such as density and parking — will be fleshed out during the planning process, which will conclude with a City Council vote around the end of July.
The site planned for redevelopment is 34.5 acres, roughly the equivalent of 12 blocks in downtown St. Paul, and is currently home to Metro Transit’s old “bus barn” storage site, a liquor store, a McDonald’s and a strip mall anchored by Rainbow Foods.
S9 Architecture developed the newly unveiled master plan for RK Midway, the company that owns the mall property. The company’s draft master plan reflects input from past community meetings, officials said.
Attendees at a recent public meeting voted on what they want to see at the redeveloped property. Restaurants, entertainment and retail got the most votes.
Most of the community members also supported new housing at the site.
Renderings of the future development included retail on the bottom floor of buildings, with office space, residential units and other uses above.
Members of the advisory group said they would enjoy visiting the shops and plazas, and would like to work in the offices planned for the site. But some people quietly questioned whether businesses will actually move into the buildings.
The group also expressed concerns about how much parking would be added and whether cars would end up parking in the surrounding neighborhoods on game days.
The city is conducting a transportation study now and is looking into parking in the area, said Jonathan Sage-Martinson, the city’s director of planning and economic development.
“There will be a lot of issues about parking,” McGuire acknowledged. “It’s a work in progress.”
Officials have said they will encourage people to use the Green Line and buses when going to soccer games.
While plans for the area around the stadium have been released, the design of the stadium itself will not be finished until the end of the month, McGuire said.
But he has previously discussed his ideas about the building, which he estimates will cost more than $120 million.
He has said it will not be imposing, and will blend into the neighborhood.
Seating in the stadium, which is expected to hold around 20,000 people, will be partly covered. That will protect fans from the weather and shield neighbors from some of the light and noise during events, McGuire said at a meeting last month.
Anyone who is interested in the project will be able to weigh in and learn more about the proposed master plan for the area at a public open house on March 15, said Mollie Scozzari, with St. Paul Planning and Economic Development.