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Target Center

David Joles, DML - Star Tribune

City and Wolves seek Target Center renovation

  • Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH
  • Star Tribune
  • February 1, 2011 - 6:32 AM

At a time when nearly all of Minnesota's sports teams have either gotten new facilities or are lining up to ask for them, Minneapolis city officials and the Timberwolves say the 21-year-old Target Center also needs a major face-lift before it becomes obsolete.

Mayor R.T. Rybak, Wolves owner Glen Taylor and other city and business leaders plan a news conference Tuesday afternoon to tout what they are calling a "sensible, sustainable Minnesota solution" for renovating the Target Center.

"If we could have our wish list, we do what a lot of other communities have done, and that would be have a new facility," Taylor said. "But I served in the Legislature. I know the difficulties that the government is facing, so we have never asked for a new facility. What we want is to bring this up to date for our fans. ... We want our fans to have the same experience that they would have at Target Field, the Xcel Center or the new football field at the University of Minnesota [TCF Bank Stadium]."

A $1 billion bonding plan announced by Gov. Mark Dayton Monday includes $8 million to match city money Rybak said will be used for basic upkeep at Target Center. The city already has $50 million in tax increment financing funds over the next 10 years aimed at keeping the facility functional.

"Now we have to come up with a public-private venture to bring it up to another level,'' Rybak said.

He declined to discuss the details or total cost of the project Monday but said, "The point is to upgrade it before it becomes obsolete."

Improving the fan experience likely will mean having places to eat, better seating and more lavatories, similar to what the Twins have in their new fan-friendly ballpark, Rybak said. It also might mean a new entrance to replace one that now looks like a lot of concrete, he said.

"We're looking for the environment to be fresher and newer," Taylor said.

Target Center is the fourth-oldest facility in the country that is home to an NBA team. According to city officials, the Target Center generates more than $100 million in economic impact a year as well as $10 million to $15 million in taxes paid mostly to the state.

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788

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