The prospect of yet another professional sports facility in downtown Minneapolis is glimmering again on the real estate horizon.
The Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal’s John Vomhof Jr. says Minnesota United owner and former UnitedHealth Group CEO William McGuire was down in Kansas City recently looking over the soccer stadium where the Sporting Kansas City MLS franchise plays. (The team won the MLS championship last weekend.
United FC president Nick Rogers told the Business Journal he’d like a stadium like the one in Kansas City for his team. The Journal also reported that United FC execs were joined by Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter and Minnesota Ballpark Authority executive director Dan Kenney.
The latter are also members of the 2020 Partnership, a group that’s working on redeveloping the North Loop area and its environs. The prospect may revive interest in the Farmer’s Market area, once a potential site for the Vikings stadium now under construction at the site of the Metrodome.
Minnesota United currently plays at the National Sports Center in Blaine, although the team recently signed a development deal with the city of Woodbury, to locate a 7,500 square foot, $1.5 million “training annex” at the city’s new Bielenberg Sports Center.
That said, it isn’t clear how an upgrade for Minnesota United FC and the prospects for a Major League Soccer team might mesh in Minneapolis.
The owners of the Vikings have soccer rights to the new downtown NFL stadium for the first five years. But that doesn’t guarantee the Wilf family a pro MLS franchise.
By the same token, Minnesota United officials point out that their team’s North American Soccer League isn’t an affiliate of MLS — it can’t simply upgrade to a major league franchise.