St. Paul to vote on giving United tax break, because property taxes on vacant land are magic

Is this Minneapolis vs. St. Paul war over Minnesota United on, or what? The St. Paul city council is expected next week to vote on a resolution asking the state legislature to approve a full property tax exemption for a stadium site in St. Paul, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s words, “so long as the owners build it with their own money.” (This would be totally different from requiring United to pay property taxes like everyone else, but giving them an equal amount of cash for a share of construction costs, because … well, just because, okay?)

Then there’s this pair of sentences from the Strib:

Mayor Chris Coleman has said he would support a tax break for the proposed 10-acre stadium site, since it hasn’t paid property taxes for more than half a century….

Some believe that the city should stick with plans for an urban village on the site that would include housing, commercial space and parkland.

So it’s been vacant for more than half a century, and clearly it will never get developed, except for the plan to develop it that would now be set aside for a stadium. Got it! You said “free money,” that’s all I heard!


5 comments on “St. Paul to vote on giving United tax break, because property taxes on vacant land are magic

  1. For those that are scoring at home:
    – If you want an article about the St. Paul stadium option, look in the Strib.
    – If you want an article about the Minneapolis option, look in the Pioneer Press.
    – If you want MLS to tell both cities to take a hike and expand instead to Sacramento, hurry up and wait.

  2. To be fair that other development options is/was looking for ~$70 million in subsidy (or so I heard). This is one of the reasons I am sort of ok with subsidizing this particular site. Fact is that site was likely going to be subsidized under any development plan which happens there.

    Which is a frankly scandalous and sad state of affairs, but is just how development works in most of the US. If you are going to build on a site you know a community is desperate to see developed you shake them down for some subsidy.

  3. Has anyone commented on the irony of the owners of a team called Minnesota UNITED playing off Minneapolis and St. Paul against each other?

  4. No Chuck, but the irony is definitely amusing. There is, and I’d say has always been, an inherent hypocrisy in sports politics. You gotta believe Bill McGuire is grinning ear to ear right now. This is exactly what he and MLS were hoping was going to happen. People on here kind of laugh at soccer, but it’s the fastest growing sport in the country right now. There’s clearly money there. And if we’re being honest with each other, McGuire is probably perfectly capable of paying property taxes and paying for the stadium. This is a popular team in a growing sport. Look at what’s happened in Orlando. They were saying they couldn’t build the stadium without public money, but then they start pulling 30,000 fans per game and all of a sudden not only do they not need public money or tax breaks, but they’re going to build the stadium even bigger. So it’s all gamesmanship. He’s just trying to get the best deal he can. The real question is, if St. Paul approves the tax breaks, do they take that deal and go to St. Paul, or do they wait and see if they can use that to pull a better deal out of Minneapolis, which we know is where they really want to be?