Minnesota United works to finalize stadium build

The new home of Major League Soccer in Minnesota will be a 20,000 seat stadium in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul. Minnesota United FC

Minnesota’s new professional soccer franchise is still working to finalize its stadium construction schedule, but it now knows that tax breaks related to the $150 million facility will come through.

Minnesota United FC president Nick Rogers said Tuesday that a timetable should be released in a matter of weeks. But Rogers said the soonest the team will get into the new St. Paul stadium is 2019, meaning the club will play two full seasons at TCF Bank stadium at the University of Minnesota.

“We’re sitting here in June 2017 still trying to iron out the schedule. When we started talking about it, there were some optimists among us who thought maybe we could in for part of 2018,” Rogers said. “I don’t think that’s realistic anymore, but I think 2019 is still very viable.”

Last month, the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton approved a measure to exempt the privately financed stadium from property taxes and lift the sales tax on construction materials.

Rogers said delays at the Capitol — a bill containing the breaks ran into a veto in 2016 after they failed to advance the year before, too — haven’t been an impediment to moving the stadium forward. The team is partnering with the city of St. Paul on the venture.

“We were certainly conscious to the fact that the earliest we could ever be faced with a property tax bill would have been in 2019. There was still the possibility of going back to the Legislature again if we didn’t get what we needed this time around,” Rogers said. “There were still some scheduling issues we’ve got to sort through that are not related to the regulatory piece.”

But, he said, “it’s certainly great to have it behind us and have that regulatory risk sort of dealt with. It’s a major piece but it’s not the last piece.”

The Midway neighborhood stadium is due to have roughly 20,000 seats with a canopy covering 80 percent of them.