Minneapolis Armory could return as concert venue by 2016

The Minneapolis Armory's crescent moon roof is impossible to miss in the eastern portion of the city's downtown. Aside from customers using the 110,000 square foot building as a parking facility, the eye-catching appeal of the nearly 80-year-old structure has gone largely underutilized over the past 40 years.

In 1998, Aerosmith filmed their putting-the-drama-in-melodramatic "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" video there, and Prince's grand performance-style "1999" video was captured in the space in 1982. Both hint at the potential for shows unfolding inside. Now, owner Doug Hoskin is working to put the plan in motion for a venue that could hold over 6,000 people.

Two years ago, Hoskin unveiled a renovation plan that would turn the Armory into an event space that resembles its glories between the late 1930s through the 1970s. Concerts, boxing matches, political functions and even the old NBA team -- pre-L.A. -- the Minneapolis Lakers played there.

With the new Minnesota Vikings stadium moving forward, Hoskin is looking to dust off the old concrete bleachers where an orchestra once sat to accompany Aerosmith, and add kitchen facilities, more seating, and concessions. Additionally, the building needs a new roof, new doors, new seating, and new windows, and an upgraded sound and light system to be able to host concerts. It would cost an estimated $22-$24 million, and ideally would open around the same time as the new stadium, only a couple blocks away.

In the next month or so, Hoskin is expected to file applications to begin work on the structure. The National Park Service has to approve of the plans because the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Update: According to the Star Tribune, the project could be complete by next May.

Here is a rendering of what it could look like inside via Shea Inc., the architect for the project.

Prince is notoriously stingy about allowing his music videos to hang around online. Here are some details and screenshots. (Google the "1999" video, and you might find something.) Aerosmith, on the other hand, aren't in any kind of mood for holding back. The amount of over-the-top spectacle in this video -- mashed with shots of Steven Tyler's daughter Liv in the blockbuster Armageddon -- suggests that there was some sort of dust storm unleashed while they were filming. It might take another to get this place up and running.

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