Minnesota Wild, state and city leaders start talks on Xcel Energy Center renovation
Gov. Tim Walz, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and the Minnesota Wild had a meeting in late October to start discussions on the possibility of renovating Xcel Energy Center in the near future.
No details or cost estimates have been talked about publicly, but the Wild organization told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that it has sent emails to fans, and others, asking for their preferences on improving their experience at the X.
Ground was broken for the arena in 1998 and it opened in 2000. The cost was approximately $165 million and most of it was money from the state and the city of St. Paul. The remaining $35 million was invested by the team owner at the time.
Norm Coleman was mayor at the time and he told KSTP the investment then was a good one and any future investment in improvements would be a good investment, too.
“There were critics, there were nay-sayers about what impact having the Xcel downtown would have,” said Coleman. “Well, it’s had a tremendous impact. It transformed St. Paul. There were nay-sayers then and they were wrong. And, if there are nay-sayers today, they would be wrong.”
Arne Carlson was governor when the arena deal was put together and he became a staunch supporter of the project.
But, Carlson said things have changed in the past 25 years and he does not think taxpayers should pay for renovations when the owners of sports teams are now making record profits.
“We don’t subsidize 3M. We don’t subsidize General Mills. Why do we subsidize these owners?” said Carlson. “Why is it the government’s problem to build them a new facility so they can make more money?”
A spokesperson for the Wild declined KSTP’s interview request.