Stadium under construction
|Location||Saint Paul, Minnesota|
|Public transit|| |
at Snelling Avenue
|Owner||Minnesota United FC|
|Broke ground||December 12, 2016|
|Opened||April 13, 2019|
|Construction cost||$200 million|
|Structural engineer||Walter P Moore|
|Services engineer||M–E Engineers, Inc.|
|General contractor||Mortenson Construction|
|Minnesota United FC (MLS) (2019–present)|
Allianz Field is a soccer-specific stadium in Saint Paul, Minnesota, home to Minnesota United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). The 19,400-seat stadium was designed by Populous and opened on April 13, 2019, during the club's third MLS season. It is located near Interstate 94 and Snelling Avenue, with transit connections provided by the Metro Green Line.
On October 23, 2015, team owners announced that Minnesota United would build a stadium on the 35-acre Saint Paul bus barn site. The stadium seats approximately 19,400, was completed in early 2019, and was privately financed for $200 million.
On November 25, 2015, Minnesota United FC hired Kansas City-based Populous to design the stadium. On December 9, 2015, the team hired Mortensen Construction as part of the stadium construction along with Populous. Mortensen built U.S. Bank Stadium for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014–2016, and worked with Populous on three other Twin Cities sports facilities: Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium, and Xcel Energy Center. Construction was completed in February 2019, and the stadium opened two months later on April 13, 2019, with Minnesota United FC hosting New York City FC.
Location and transportation
Allianz Field is located on the north side of Interstate 94 between Snelling Avenue and Pascal Street in the Midway neighborhood of Saint Paul, Minnesota, halfway between Downtown Minneapolis and Downtown Saint Paul. The stadium is a short distance from several transit routes, including the Snelling Avenue light rail station on the Metro Green Line and a set of stops served by the A Line bus rapid transit route. The venue has under 1,000 spaces of on-site parking, instead relying on public transit and off-site lots with shuttle buses. Minnesota United has also organized several designated areas for rideshare pickups and dropoffs, as well as 400 parking spaces for bicycles. The city government of Saint Paul projects that 38 percent of match attendees will use public transit, while 23 percent will use off-site parking lots with shuttles, and 11 percent will use private parking closer to the stadium.
The stadium is a ring-shaped stadium, with seating for approximately 19,400 in the first phase and 24,474 in a future expansion that would fill the four corners. It has a safe standing terrace for 2,920 supporters, named the "Wonderwall" after the club's unofficial anthem, located behind the south-end goal. The single-tier Wonderwall terrace was designed with a 34.9 percent incline and has no seats. The north end has a brewpub, named Brew Hall, and a manual scoreboard and ninety-minute clock that were designed to resemble fixtures at the former home, National Sports Center in Blaine.
The stadium was designed by Populous with deliberate sightlines and an "intimate atmosphere" in mind. The pitch sits 16 inches (41 cm) above the first row of seats and is composed of 97,000 square feet (9,000 m2) of Kentucky bluegrass that was grown in Colorado before being installed in late 2018. A glass-like polymer mesh oval exterior provides the stadium with a sleek facade. It is clad in polytetrafluoroethylene, which covers the steel structure that holds the roof in place. With an overhang partially covering the field, the facade is expected to soften the noise towards the neighborhood. Color-changing LEDs light the exterior mesh in the same manner as Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The first tests of the lighting system in December 2018, which ran overnight in the fog, drew complaints from neighboring residents due to the intensity of the colors.
The masterplan is pedestrian-oriented and designates 2.6 acres (1.1 ha) of outdoor gathering spaces. The stadium will be ringed by three grassy plazas and a fourth green space will be placed along University Avenue, near Snelling Avenue Station. Pascal Green will be on the east of the stadium; United Champion Plaza will be on the southwest corner; Victory Plaza will be on the north; and Midway Square will be north of Victory Plaza, along Snelling Avenue. Midway Square and Victory Plaza will express the north-south axis of the stadium.
These green spaces are planned to be progressively introduced in phases as property owner RK Midway waits for existing leases on its current tenants to end. However, the timeline of these phases has not been released to the city or the public, as of July 2016. The project drew criticism as the full realization of the masterplan could take many years.
A masterplan has been drawn up for the redevelopment of the broad area, including the stadium site and adjacent properties owned by RK Midway. This may include building new hotel and office space and the redevelopment of the existing shopping center. The buildings occupied by Rainbow supermarket, Walgreens, Midway Pro Bowl and some adjoining spaces will be torn down. The masterplan calls for the redevelopment to be more pedestrian friendly, to accommodate large numbers of fans walking to and from the transit stations.
The southern half of the site was formerly a bus barn used by Metro Transit until it was demolished in 2002. Later a big-box store was pursued for the site but not built. The site was acquired decades earlier by the Metropolitan Council with help from the Federal Transit Administration so development of the site required federal government approval. The stadium itself primarily sits on this property.
On July 25, 2017, Allianz Life was announced as the sponsor for the stadium. Allianz Life, a subsidiary of German company Allianz, is headquartered in nearby Golden Valley. It is one of eight sports facilities around the world that is sponsored by Allianz or its subsidiaries. The naming rights agreement with Allianz runs until the end of 2028 and costs an undisclosed amount.
On April 17, 2018, Minnesota United announced a 10-year partnership with Fargo, North Dakota-based Bell Bank that included naming Bell a gate sponsor in the southwest corner of Allianz Field. The partnership also involves the bank providing a $1,000 check to a player each match of the 2019 season to be donated to a charity of the player’s choice. In announcing the partnership, Bell donated $10,000 to goalkeeper Matt Lampson for his LampStrong Foundation charity, which supports cancer patients.
The stadium was planned to break ground in June 2016, but was delayed while the team awaited a tax-exemption from the state, similar to ones granted to other recent stadium projects. Despite the stadium construction being privately funded, the franchise owners stated that the tax-exemption was needed for the project's viability.
In addition, because stadium construction would eliminate Rainbow Foods – an anchor tenant in the Midway Shopping Center – strip mall owner RK Midway of New York faced lease complications with its smaller tenants. Industry analysts say intense competition between the grocery company SuperValu (which operates Rainbow within the strip mall) and rivals, primarily Hy-Vee, makes it unlikely that Rainbow will agree to terminate its lease early without a signed guarantee against a competitor moving into the shopping center.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on December 12, 2016, and was attended by MLS commissioner Don Garber. Major construction on the site began in June 2017. Steel erection began in November 2017 and construction reached a halfway milestone in late April 2018. Construction on the stadium was completed by Mortenson Construction on February 27, 2019, after 20 months of work.
The first official home game at the stadium was held on April 13, 2019, against New York City FC, which was attended by a sellout crowd of 19,796. The match ended in a 3–3 draw, with the first goal scored by Osvaldo Alonso in the 13th minute. A winter storm arrived in the Twin Cities the day before the match, requiring grounds crews to scrape away snow and ice from the stadium's seats and parts of the pitch.
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