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MLS turns focus to St. Paul for stadium

Major League Soccer's deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said he will come to St. Paul to meet with Mayor Chris Coleman in the coming weeks to discuss prospects for building a soccer stadium in St. Paul.

Major League Soccer’s deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said he will come to St. Paul to meet with Mayor Chris Coleman in the coming weeks to discuss prospects for building a soccer stadium in St. Paul.
Wednesday was a deadline for United to present formal plans to finance a downtown Minneapolis stadium. That deadline passed without a plan in place.
Abbott told KSTP-AM 1500 that he had a conference call with United owner Bill McGuire and discussed the next step in St. Paul.
“We should come out and meet the representatives in St. Paul and find out what is possible,” Abbott told radio host Patrick Reusse.
“Bill did provide an additional update to us on the interest that Mayor Coleman has expressed in bringing MLS to St. Paul,” Abbott said. “So, while we haven’t extended today’s deadline, we did decide that it would be appropriate for me to come to Minnesota in the next few weeks to learn more about the opportunity in St. Paul so we could make a fully informed decision as to whether to we should continue to consider Minnesota as a potential expansion market.”
Minneapolis was the front-runner to build a $150 million stadium on $30 million worth of land near Target Field.
“As of today, we don’t have a stadium plan, and that is something that we need to go forward,” Abbott said.
Coleman and Deputy Mayor Kristin Beckmann met with McGuire in May. The meeting was general in focus and not intended to “interfere” with United’s discussions with Minneapolis, said Tonya Tennessen, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office.
“But I understand that if a deal isn’t struck, the mayor would be open to seeing soccer remain in the state and would be open to formal discussions about having them here in St. Paul,” Tennessen said.
St. Paul Chamber of Commerce President Matt Kramer said June 10 that St. Paul would and should be open to negotiating a stadium deal with United. Kramer said two potential locations could be the Sears site near the Capitol and the Metro Transit bus barn off Interstate 94 and near Snelling and University Avenues.
Follow Andy Greder at twitter.com/andygreder

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