Minneapolis and Timberwolves officials announced a long-awaited deal Monday to split the cost of a $100 million renovation of downtown's city-owned Target Center.
The agreement, which must be approved by the City Council, would commit $48.5 million in city sales taxes to the renovation, plus another $43 million from the Timberwolves. Venue concert operator AEG would kick in another $5.5 million.
"It took a little while, but we got it done," Mayor R.T. Rybak said at a press conference in the lobby of the building.
The renovation will redesign the exterior of the building, create additional gathering spaces, improve pedestrian traffic flow, upgrade amenities, increase the seating capacity, add additional VIP clubs and fix loading dock problems. The deal also keeps the Timberwolves, Lynx and AEG at the arena until 2032.
"It's going to be a lot of little things that add up," said team owner Glen Taylor, referring to fan improvements.
The cost of the renovation was initially pegged at $150 million, but that cost was scaled down during negotiations.
In addition to their $48.5 million commitment of sales taxes, the city is also on the hook for $50 million in ongoing capital improvements. Rybak said Monday that the city was already planning to spend that money, regardless of the agreement.
"The bottom line is had this deal not been done, we still would have been putting money into this building ongoing," Rybak said. "But it would have deteriorated much more rapidly."
Rybak has said that the Vikings stadium deal was needed to spend restricted city sales tax dollars on the renovation. Because of that, he asserts it has saved property taxpayers $5 million a year. Others, like Rep. Diane Loeffler, said the sales taxes could be used for this before the Vikings deal.
The City Council will hold a hearing on the agreement this Thursday, with a full vote expected on Nov. 12. Construction, which will take between 18 and 24 months, could begin in summer of 2014.