SBD/February 2, 2011/Facilities

Minneapolis Officials Announce Proposed $150M Renovation Of Target Center

Renovations would open up Target Center more to street, nearby Target Field
An array of Minneapolis leaders yesterday "proposed a $150 million renovation they said would keep Target Center in downtown Minneapolis competitive for 20 years," though they said that they "still have to work out who would pay for it," according to Steve Brandt of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The plans "would open up the city-owned building more to the street and nearby facilities such as Target Field." One of the "most visible changes would be to provide views into and out of the arena's public spaces instead of the current mostly opaque facade." The renovations also would "expand concourses and renovate locker rooms" and add "new fan services such as another restaurant, a new bar, a food court, new club seats and a VIP entrance." There was "no start date given for the proposal." Boosters noted that Target Center is the "fourth-oldest arena in the NBA," and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, T'Wolves Owner Glen Taylor and others said that renovation is a "more cost-effective approach than replacing the 21-year old arena." But City Council member Gary Schiff said that Minneapolis "will face a similar renovation need in 20 years unless it sheds ownership" of the arena. Rybak's Communications Dir, John Stiles, noted that the city, the T'Wolves and facility manager AEG are "potential contributors" to financing the renovations, though "one source that Rybak ruled out is an additional contribution from city property taxes." Rybak said that the $150M plan "would be atop" a current 10-year, $50M "renovation of building systems" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/2). Rybak said that the project "could take 15 to 18 months to complete once financing is approved." Taylor said that the T'Wolves, "who conduct 25 percent of the events in Target Center, would have an active role in planning the renovation and contributing to the cost" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/2).

WORSE BY ASSOCIATION: In Minneapolis, Michael Rand writes Target Center "never has been a great venue," but for many years it "was an average place to watch a sporting event in a metro area filled with similarly decent places." The arena's "curse" comes from the "overwhelming upgrade the Twin Cities has seen with its sports facilities in just the past couple of years." Target Center "now not only pales in comparison to Xcel Energy Center, but also to TCF Bank Stadium and most importantly" Target Field. Rand: "Target Center is hardly a dump. It's comfortable. There are navigation quirks, but accessibility is generally good" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/2).
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