Rochester leaders see plan for $58M sports arena; Ambitions include hosting a minor league hockey team

Published 3:34 am Thursday, September 7, 2017

By Catharine Richert

MPR News

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Members of the Mayo Civic Center commission got their first look at a proposal for a new sports arena in Rochester on Tuesday.

Email newsletter signup

A study by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts it would cost about $58 million to build a new arena.

The facility would return a projected $3.5 million or more annually by drawing larger concerts and other acts to the area. The ambitions include hosting a minor league hockey team.

Some private groups are interested in paying for the new arena, said Brad Jones, executive director of the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We’re trying to get up to 50, 60 percent of this project funded privately as a partner to the city,” he said.

But Rochester City Council member Nick Campion said he’s not sold on dedicating any public money to the facility. Rochester already has a lot of competition from the Twin Cities, he said.

“To get into that game, you have to be willing to put a lot on the table. I think we need to take a step back and consider whether that’s our best approach to building a community that’s a destination,” he said.

The proposal for a new arena is in the early stages. The Rochester City Council will have to give the go-ahead for the convention center commission to continue planning.