- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A design firm specializing in sports arenas has been selected as the lead architect for the new professional soccer stadium in St. Paul.

Major League Soccer expansion franchise Minnesota United announced Tuesday that Populous was picked to lead the project. Plans call for a privately financed, nearly 20,000-seat stadium to be built on a barren parcel along Interstate 94 and completed in early 2018.

Projects designed by Kansas City-based Populous include the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, where the NHL’s Minnesota Wild play. The firm also designed Minneapolis baseball stadium Target Field and University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.

Other works by Populous include the new Yankee Stadium in New York and soccer stadiums in France, England, Mexico and South Africa, the St. Paul Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/1Pa9eW5 ) reports. The firm is also working on a new soccer stadium for Orlando City FC.

Minnesota United President Nick Rogers said in a statement that the team has talked with Populous and its principal, Bruce Miller, for the past two years. Rogers said the team has “every confidence they are the right group to help us realize our vision of producing a world-class soccer stadium in St. Paul.”

Miller said in the statement that the building site’s location, access to public transit and exposure on I-94 “make it a model site for a Major League Soccer” venue.

Owners of Minnesota United committed last month to building a stadium in St. Paul, abandoning earlier plans to play in Minneapolis. The team turned to St. Paul after failing to sway top officials in Minneapolis.

The 25-acre site in St. Paul is currently used for bus storage, but city officials have been pushing to get the area redeveloped.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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