Sometime this spring, construction workers at Allianz Field in St. Paul will start installing the translucent skin that will wrap around the new $200 million soccer stadium and, when illuminated, define its signature futuristic look.
When lighting testing begins this fall, gawker slowdowns on nearby Interstate 94 will not be surprising.
The stadium, with steel beams rising high above the site at Snelling and University avenues, already is turning heads in the Midway neighborhood. The project is 40 percent complete and on time and on budget for completion next February. The structural steel will be topped out in June. Grass seeded last year in Colorado goes in this fall.
Players and fans will have to wait until the 2019 season opener to experience it all firsthand. The skin, a version of Teflon that allows more light through it, also will help direct crowd noise from the 19,400 seats down onto the playing pitch, intensifying the effect on players, Mortenson Construction officials said.
Whenever the Loons score a goal, however, don’t expect the lighting to flash and change colors as fans cheer. State transportation officials asked the club to avoid doing so out of concerns of disrupting freeway traffic, a Mortenson official said.
“Pictures are one thing,” Minnesota United owner Bill McGuire said. “Tangible things that you can reach out and touch, and really participate in bring a whole new dimension.”