North Loop leaders make another pitch for soccer stadium in Mpls

A group of North Loop business and community leaders known as The 2020 Partners have sent a resolution to Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber expressing strong support for a professional soccer stadium near the Minneapolis Farmers Market.

In the letter accompanying the resolution, 2020 Partners Chair Nick Koch wrote that the group supports the efforts underway by the Minneapolis City Council and urges them to include Hennepin County and private sector leaders in their discussions about the stadium proposal.

At a recent 2020 Partners meeting, Hennepin County Peter McLaughlin proposed the soccer stadium be publically owned like other stadiums in the region and that county sales taxes used to build Target Field be tapped for the soccer stadium.

The latest appeal to MLS leaders comes as St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is also courting league officials and urging them to consider a site near Snelling and University as a possible home for a stadium.

“Though Mayor Betsy Hodges has expressed a preference that MLS locate in an existing sports facility, we are heartened by her recent comment that she believes that Hennepin County framework has merit,” Koch wrote. “We believe that when fully examined this project is in complete alignment with the mayor’s vision for ‘One Minneapolis’ and her initiatives for equity and justice.”

Koch also invited Garber and his colleagues to meet with The 2020 Partners to learn more about their passion for the project.

“Beyond being a sport so thoroughly enjoyed by our robust population of increasingly diverse and global Minnesotans, the soccer facility — with a pledge of $150 million of private investment — could be a keystone to revitalizing a fallow area and linking burgeoning development in the North Loop to create opportunities for Near North Minneapolis,” he wrote.

Garber and Minnesota United Team owner Bill McGuire announced with much fanfare that Minnesota had been awarded a MLS expansion team at Target Field in March contingent on a viable plan for a soccer stadium.

McGuire and his investment team have pledged to pay $100 million to purchase the franchise, $30 million for land acquisition for the stadium and $120 million to build the stadium. The group has also sought a sales tax exemption on construction materials and a property tax exemption for the stadium. 

In a letter responding to the resolution, Garber thanked The 2020 Partners for their support: “I have visited the Farmers Market and think that it would be a tremendous site for a new soccer-specific stadium. As the stadium project evolves, we will reach out at the appropriate time and look forwarding to keeping in touch.”