Target Center slated for a $155 million overhaul, and please ignore the Timberwolves

Out of the blue, we need to renovate the city-owned 21-year-old Target Center to the tune of $155 million?

More seating options for sports and concerts, fancier entries, a few restaurants, and better accommodations for traveling acts are desperately needed for the arena to remain competitive, Mayor R.T. Rybak said at a press conference today.

The new configuration would put more seats on the lower level, where concert promoters can charge more for tickets.

Oh, and the god-awful Timberwolves want their home remodeled too. But ignore that, team owner Glen Taylor insisted at the press conference. Just because they suck doesn't mean taxpayers shouldn't help keep them around.

The main entrance would move to the corner of First Avenue and 6th Street.
The main entrance would move to the corner of First Avenue and 6th Street.

Who pays? The cost would be split between the city of Minneapolis taxpayers, who own it; Anschutz Entertainment Group, which manages it; and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Gov. Mark Dayton asked for $8 million for the project in his recent bonding proposal in St. Paul.

Why not blow the thing up and start over? That would cost four times as much as the proposed renovations, Rybak says. Refurbish the thing and it's good for another 20 years, and it'll build on the economic boost already being felt from brand-spankin' new Target Field just down the street.

The renovations include more lower-level seating.
The renovations include more lower-level seating.

Rybak, Taylor, and the website set up to promote the renovation all understand that the Timberwolves' record will be a drag on closing the deal with taxpayers. So, over and over, we're hearing that the NBA franchise is just one of seven tenants in the building, and that it's responsible for just 20 percent of the roughly 200 days a year the facility is in use. Under terms of the contract, the Timberwolves only see revenue from the Target Center on the days the team plays there.

We're hearing a lot these days about the city prioritizing budget line items; cops and firefighters have lost their jobs in the economic squeeze. It'll be interesting to see if the city's boosters can sell this deal.

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