Target Center renovation project secures final approval

The City Council gave the final approval needed Friday to move ahead with the long-awaited $128.9 million renovation of the city-owned Target Center.

The vote was 10-3 with Council Members Andrew Johnson, Lisa Bender and Alondra Cano voting no.

Johnson argued that other city priorities, such as funding for ongoing street maintenance and the parks, should be in line ahead of Target Center.

City Council Member Lisa Goodman countered that the sales tax authorized to pay for Target Center renovations as part of the Vikings stadium legislation couldn’t be used for those needs and the city is contractually obligated to maintain the facility.

The final design for the entertainment complex will feature a more modern exterior with metal cladding of various shades of brown. There will be a new five-story glassy atrium at the corner of 6th Street & 1st Avenue, a new loading dock, a green wall along 7th Street and several interior improvements, including upgrades for suites and other premium spaces. A new scoreboard will also be installed this summer.

Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor praised the project in a statement. “This venture is about creating the best possible experience for our fans and giving the region a first-class experience in an arena for all to enjoy,” he said.

The City of Minneapolis has committed $74 million for the project, the Timberwolves/Lynx $49 million and AEG, the arena’s operations manager, $5.9 million.

Construction work is scheduled to start in May and wrap up the fall of 2017. The arena will be closed during the summer of 2017.

Mayor Betsy Hodges also expressed support for the renovation plan.

“Renovating the Target Center will preserve and enhance it as an entertainment venue for decades,” she said. “This is a sensible Minnesota solution that retains the value of the public money already invested.”