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PUBLIC BUYOUT PLAN OF MINNEAPOLIS ARENA IS OFF-TARGET
Published January 9, 1995
A proposed change in federal law has "knocked the foundation out from under the elaborate financial plans for a public purchase" of the Target Center arena. A way may be found to restructure a buyout plan that works "financially and politically, but for now the proposal put in place" by the MN Legislature last spring "is dead." The new federal law says that a public body may not use tax-free bonds to buy a facility -- such as the Target Center -- if the building is used for the benefit of a private tenant, such as the Timberwolves. For more than a year, the officials planning the arena purchase thought that tax-free bonds could be used if the money to repay the bonds came from new admission taxes and surcharges rather than from direct lease payments by the Wolves. Henry Savelkoul, Chair of the MN Sports Facilities Commission: "If we follow the rules and the state law, the deal just doesn't work, and we can't make it work." The latest development in the "tortuous buyout negotiations has the potential to kill Glen Taylor's purchase of the T-Wolves -- a purchase that is still contingent on a public takeover of the arena" (Patrick Sweeney, St. Paul PIONEER PRESS, 1/9).