Target Center Gets Approval For $97M In Upgrades, Reigniting Vikings Stadium Debate
A unanimous Minneapolis City Council vote yesterday approving a $97M renovation of Target Center "reignited a lingering debate about whether the deal would have been possible without the polarizing Vikings stadium legislation," according to Eric Roper of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Mayor R.T. Rybak has "repeatedly argued that the Vikings deal improved city finances by allowing restricted sales taxes to be spent on a renovation of the city-owned Target Center, thereby alleviating a burden on property taxpayers." However, several prominent politicians have said that this "is false, because the city already had the power to use the largest of those taxes for Target Center improvements." City Council member Diane Hofstede said that it was "important to relate the Target Center deal, in which the city will pay $50 million in sales taxes for the renovation, to the Vikings agreement." Council member Lisa Goodman, who "opposed the Vikings stadium deal, spoke up to make a 'correction,' pointing to a letter from former council budget chair Paul Ostrow, who said the law already allowed the taxes to be used for Target Center." Roper notes the funding will "improve the building's public spaces, upgrade technology and overhaul the facade." The city, which purchased the building in the mid '90s, also is "on the hook" for $50M in ongoing capital costs. The T'Wolves will pay $43M for the renovation, with another $5M coming from operator AEG (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/13).