Mpls, Wolves Seek $155M Target Center Renovation

The two organizations on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to spend $155 million to renovate the 21-year-old building-and they want the state to provide an unspecified portion of the funding.

The City of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to completely remodel Target Center to the tune of $155 million.

According to city spokesman John Stiles, the proposal calls for the city, the NBA team, Target Center operator AEG, and the State of Minnesota to fund the project through a public-private partnership-although the specific contributions of each organization are yet unknown.

“We strongly support the proposal to renovate Target Center at this point in time,” Timberwolves Owner Glen Taylor said in a statement. “Although Wolves games only account for 25 percent of the events in the building, we obviously have an opinion on the matter because it has a huge impact on our fans and their experience at games. Everyone understands that these are tough economic times, but this proposal is a smart, sensible and frugal approach to keeping Target Center competitive for the next 20 years.”

From a Tuesday afternoon press conference at which the proposal was announced, Stiles said that the proposed renovation would cost only about a third of the cost of building a new stadium. (Amway Center, a just-opened NBA arena in Orlando, Florida, cost $480 million to build.)

The proposed renovation includes a new, more modern-looking main entrance and lobby on the corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street; wider spaces and glass walls; a new restaurant overlooking Target Field and Target Plaza; new club-seating areas; and an in-arena public bar.

“In Minnesota, we often let our facilities get to a point where we need to replace them,” Stiles told Twin Cities Business. “We want to do something that is sensible and extend the life of the facility for another 20 years.”

Target Center, which is owned by the city and first opened its doors in 1990, cost $104 million to build-$7.3 million of which came from the state. The facility's initial price tag and the proposed renovations would together cost less than half of what a new stadium is now running-and most new stadiums last only 20 years, Stiles said.

“Similar facilities in other cities are now much newer than Target Center is,” Stiles said. “There are a variety of needs that go beyond what the city as the owner can keep up with”-and those needs must be addressed if the facility is to remain competitive and continue to attract visitors.

The City of Minneapolis plans to approach the Minnesota Legislature to request funding before its current session ends May 23. How legislators will respond remains to be seen, but Stiles said that the state's return on its initial $7.3 million investment has been substantial-Minnesota has captured $125 million in sales, liquor, and income tax revenue from the facility.

“We think asking the state to do its share . . . is reasonable,” Stiles said. Some other facts and statistics that Stiles cited in support of the proposed renovations:

  • Target Center is the 28th-busiest building in the United States.
  • Target Center is the fourth-oldest facility currently used by an NBA team.
  • Nearly 200 events each year take place at Target Center-more than half of which are attended by at least 5,000 people.
  • Target Center directly supports 200 full-time and 500 part-time jobs and indirectly supports another 1,000 jobs.
  • Each year, more than 1 million people visit Target Center-most of whom are from outside of Minneapolis and nearly a quarter of whom are from outside of the Twin Cities metro area.
  • Two studies conducted in the past, one in 1999 and another in 2007, recommended and identified renovations to Target Center-but plans were shelved both times.
  • Approximately 75 percent of the events that take place annually at Target Center do not involve the Timberwolves.