Oct 13, 2022 - News

Minnesota hosts international delegation as part of 2027 World Expo pitch

rending of world expo site

This rendering shows the proposed host pavilion for Minnesota's 2027 World Expo pitch. Image courtesy of Minnesota USA Expo 2027

Boosters looking to win Bloomington's bid to host a 2027 World Expo leaned on top lawmakers, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Revival's fried chicken as they made their case to an international scouting committee.

Driving the news: State and local leaders hosted a delegation from the Bureau International des Expositions' this week in an attempt to bring the next Specialized Expo to Minnesota.

  • It would mark the first time since 1984 that the U.S. played host for such an event.

Why it matters: Supporters say the three-month event, themed "Healthy People, Healthy Planet," could attract 14 million visitors and pump more than $2 billion into the economy.

Yes, and: Site plans call for the development of new structures — including a conference center and an elevated parkway — on vacant city-owned lots by the Mall of America.

  • Some buildings would be permanent and others would come down after the event was over, an advisor to the local bid committee told reporters.

State of play: The U.S. is one of five countries still in the running. Cities in Argentina, Serbia, Spain and Thailand are also in the mix.

Zoom out: The visit is the latest step in a years-long effort to bring the Expo to Minnesota. Supporters are making a second pitch after losing a bid for the 2023 World's Fair.

  • The bid has support from the Biden administration, the entire Minnesota congressional delegation and prominent local leaders. Marc Lore, the businessman in the process of buying the Timberwolves, is a co-chair of the campaign.

Zoom in: The visit to the Twin Cities began Sunday and included meetings with Mayors Melvin Carter and Jacob Frey, a private reception at the Governor's Residence and meetings at the Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau and the State Capitol.

  • A stop at U.S. Bank Stadium featured a performance by Native American dancers in honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin addressed the group.
  • The itinerary also included a reception at the Minneapolis Museum of Art and meetings overlooking the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.

What they're saying: "We know that Minnesota can do big things. We did the Super Bowl, and that was in the middle of the winter," said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who met with the visitors as part of her "personal mission" to win the bid.

Between the lines: The goal of the visit is not to judge the bid's merits, but to assess whether the proposed host city has the support and infrastructure needed to host the event, said Alain Berger, president of the BIE executive committee.

  • He told reporters via a translator that the group had "very constructive dialogue" with local organizers during the visit and was "completely satisfied" with the meetings and support.

Of note: The plan is to largely pay for the site development and event itself via private sources, such as ticket sales and sponsorships.

  • But officials said Wednesday that a “public-private partnership” could eventually be part of the financing model.

What's next: The delegation heads to Washington, D.C., Thursday for meetings at the State Department, the Department of Commerce and the White House.

  • The BIE is expected to announce its selection next summer.

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