SBD/27/Franchises

TIMBERWOLVES AND TARGET CENTER: I'S DOTTED, T'S CROSSED

     The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and the new
ownership of the Timberwolves reached agreement on "everything
that's important" for a Target Center lease, according to
commission chair Henry Savelkoul.  The deal "seems to guarantee
that pro basketball will remain in the Twin Cities for the next
30 years."  The commission votes on the deal tomorrow, which will
likely trigger votes by the Minneapolis City Council and
Metropolitan Council approving the $75M public purchase of the
"debt-ridden" facility.  Under the agreement, the first $5.8M in
ticket-tax revenues will pay off bonds used to finance the
purchase.  The Wolves will pay no rent, but there will be a 10%
tax and at least a $1 surcharge on each ticket sold to a Target
Center event.  About $11.25M -- $750,000 for 15 years -- will
come from the state's general fund, as generated by a tax on
health club memberships.  Savelkoul is confident that the deal
will prevent the imposition of a downtown liquor and hotel tax,
which would become permanent if the arena's revenues don't cover
the annual bond payments.  New Wolves Owner Glen Taylor "has
expressed a desire to bring an NHL team to the arena," and
Savelkoul believes the deal can allow for that (Jay Wiener,
Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/24).
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