Top Menu

St. Paul seeks to build arena next to…arena

The city of St. Paul is looking for state aid to build a new arena next to Xcel Energy Center.
The city of St. Paul is looking for state aid to build a new 4,000-seat arena next to Xcel Energy Center, home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.

Exactly why is a 4,000-seat arena needed? The city says the small arena, which can host smaller competitions and Wild practices, would actually create revenue and be a valuable addition to the city’s Event District, which includes the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Ordway Theater.

There’s a catch. If St. Paul were to build the new $40-million arena, it wants to see $33 million in loans for Xcel Energy Center forgiven. So the state would basically be paying for the facility — entirely appropriate, given how important the Event District is to the rest of the state. The new arena would turn a profit of $4 million annually, say St. Paul officials, with the Wild as an anchor tenant.

Will it fly? There’s not a lot of sympathy at the Minnesota Legislature toward sports facilities these days — just ask the Minnesota Vikings — and some of St. Paul’s legislative delegation wants to see the city’s crappy neighborhood arenas fixed up before a new one is built downtown essentially for the Wild.