MINNEAPOLIS – Fresh food enthusiasts can breathe a bit easier since the proposed new soccer stadium is not to replace the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Previously, there had been concern that the sports venue was aiming for the market footprint.
Major League Soccer (MLS) announced Wednesday that the Minnesota United FC group headed by Dr. William McGuire had been awarded a franchise for Minneapolis. The team is to begin play in 2018 in a new open-air stadium.
"We met with Dr. McGuire earlier this week and what we heard was the site that they're proposing is actually adjacent to the Farmer's Market," said Doug Harvey, Minneapolis Farmer's Market Board Member. "Their plan is to incorporate kind of a look and feel of the entire stadium build out to the Farmer's Market and surrounding areas."
Harvey said the plan shown to the Board indicated that a new stadium would be built adjacent to, and north and east of, the Market property.
"There is a possibility and opportunities for expanding a little bit," said Harvey, "and maybe we will get some more parking."
It is good news for Farmer's "Marketeers" like Emily Rheingans of the Mon Petit Cheri Bakery and Kitchen in South Minneapolis. Rheingans credits the Market for being the incubator for her fledgling business.
"For me, if it wasn't for the Farmer's Market, none of this would be happening," said Rheingans. "It think that it is an avenue for a ton of different businesses, not only bakeries like mine, but obviously growers."
Rheingans said she spent just one year in a spot at the Market before being able to assemble the capital for her present "brick and mortar" location. She said she intends to have a spot at the Market for her unique scones and sandwiches this year as well.
A continuing issue, as yet unexplained, is how the McGuire group plans to finance the expected $150 million cost of the new sports venue. Public officials in Minnesota, so far, have expressed doubt of any support for a public contribution to the construction costs.
Even long-time soccer fans, like "Two United Fans" blogger Kyle Schlinz did not support tax money being used.
"I do not," said Schlinz. "I think there are ways in order to make this happen and the city to help without adding additional taxes."
Dr. McGuire and his investors, including Robert Pohlad and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, have deep pockets.