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Categorized | NEWS

Mortenson Construction builds stadium as a good neighbor should

Posted on 13 January 2019 by Calvin

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Mortenson Construction has a long, impressive resume, and you don’t have to travel very far in the Twin Cities to see one of their projects. Their crews built the recent restoration of Orchestra Hall, the Walker Art Center addition, major projects at the Minnesota Zoo, US Bank Stadium, the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum, and many others. Their latest project, which will take 20 months from start to finish, is Allianz Field in the Midway neighborhood. According to project supervisor Greg Huber, “Things are moving along right on time.”

Photo right: Greg Huber, Mortenson Construction supervisor for Allianz Field, said, “To me, the most exciting thing is this. Yes, we’ve built a new stadium, but we’ve also improved the site for the community in so many ways.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Constructing a major league soccer stadium at the busiest intersection in the state has had its logistical challenges. Huber said, “We started with a really good plan and, because of that, the project has gone well. We came in with a solid understanding of the site, complexities and all. Community impact means a lot to us; that piece has to work for the project to be successful.”

Huber explained, “In the beginning, we had to dig a really big hole. We were hauling about 6,000 cubic yards (56,000 cubic feet) of soil and debris off the site daily, and bringing in huge deliveries of structural steel and other building materials. Because Snelling and University avenues are already so busy, we didn’t want to add to the congestion. We used Pascal St. instead, to provide as little disruption to the neighborhood as possible. We had a few neighbors come to our construction office in the beginning, worried about how long certain noise levels would last. Thankfully, the worst of it, like the pile driving, only took a couple of weeks.”

Mortenson Construction has made communication with existing tenants of the Super Block a priority throughout the process.

According to Huber, “Site supervisor Scott Amudson is the one with boots on the ground every day, making sure we’re in touch with the needs of the tenants at RK Midway. For example, we built the stadium from south to north, so that the tenants who had to move could stay in place as long as possible. It would have been easier for us to work in the opposite direction.”

Construction is slated to be done on Feb. 22, 2019, with the first Minnesota United FC soccer game scheduled for mid-April. Once the construction fence comes down, Huber anticipates that the public will be pleasantly surprised. “The soccer club didn’t have to go to the lengths they did with landscaping and other community amenities to get approval for this project,” he said. “Regarding the trees, there was literally no tree cover on this site before. Nearly 200 dormant trees were planted this fall, and they’re not just little saplings: the trees have trunks with a 6-8” diameter, which is unusual for a new planting. We believe we’re creating a better sense of place here by putting in community green space.”

Other amenities will include on-site benches made with granite from Cold Spring MN and a public walkway on the south side of the Super Block that connects Snelling Ave. to Pascal St.

One of the mottos at Mortenson Construction is, “Finish safe, finish strong.” Huber explained, “We have over 580,000 worker hours logged on this project so far, and we’ll have 650,000 by the time it’s done. That translates as a lot of meaningful employment to a lot of people—many of whom are local. We also believe that businesses of all sizes in this neighborhood will benefit from the transformation of the Super Block. There will be a big uptick in foot traffic.”

When Allianz won naming rights to the new stadium, they added it to their list of branded stadiums in Munich, London, Sao Paulo, Vienna, Nice, Turin, and Sydney. That will make St. Paul something of an international destination, as there are presently more people outside the US that enjoy soccer than there are in.

Huber concluded, “We believe this will be an iconic structure for decades to come.”

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