New timeline unveiled for Target Center makeover

An illustration of a renovated Target Center. Credit:

Timberwolves and Lynx CEO Rob Moor revealed an updated design and new schedule for the $129 million Target Center renovation at a press conference Tuesday morning and said construction is expected to be done by fall 2017. 

The schedule for the project has been in a state of limbo for some time and an earlier plan had renovation work completed by early 2017. City officials first proposed a makeover for the 25-year-old arena in 2011. The City of Minneapolis has owned the arena since 1995 while AEG is the building’s manager. 

Target has also agreed to extend its naming rights for the building, which it has had for 25 years. Team officials said it’s the longest-running naming rights deal in American pro sports. Moor and Target Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones declined to disclose terms of the naming-rights deal.  

The renovation work will be done in three phases, Moor said. The first phase will be done next summer and will focus on making improvements to the suite level and acoustics. A new scoreboard will also be installed.

For the second phase, exterior work and upgrades to the loading dock, among other things, will be done the fall of 2016 through the spring of 2017. For the third phase in the summer of 2017, the arena will be closed to make way for a new lobby and improvements to locker rooms, restrooms and concession areas. 

Moor said they are still looking for a temporary venue for the Minnesota Lynx for the summer of 2017, preferably one in Minneapolis. “We are working hard to minimize the impact during construction on our fans, and we believe it is important that our fans benefit as soon as possible from the renovation,” he said.

The City Council approved a revised term sheet for the renovation project earlier this year. The city’s upfront costs for the makeover will be $74 million. The Timberwolves and Lynx has pledged to pay $49 million and AEG will contribute $5.9 million. 

The proposed renovation project will go before the City Council next spring for final approval. 

Mayor Betsy Hodges said the proposed renovation is a “sensible Minnesota solution” to keep the facility competitive and much less expensive than building a new area. She also cheered for the Minnesota Lynx, which are poised to win their third WNBA championship this weekend. 

The arena hosts about 200 events a year and attracts about 1 million visitors annually.  

The updated design for the arena still shows a five-story glass atrium that will serve as a new entrance at the corner of 1st Avenue & 6th Street. The rest of the building will have a black exterior. 

The Timberwolves and Lynx moved their corporate headquarters and training facilities into the newly renovated Mayo Clinic Square across the street from Target Center in June.