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Timberwolves, Lynx owner to boost Target Center renovation

Updated: January 24, 2017 - 12:45 pm

The teams are putting in money for more upgrades to the city-owned venue.

The cost to renovate the Target Center is increasing to up to $150 million as the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx add onto the high-profile project.

The teams announced Tuesday that owner Glen Taylor will put in an additional $9 million to $12 million for a new skyway connection, new seats and other improvements to the city-owned entertainment complex. While the contribution from the City of Minneapolis won’t increase, the city’s updated plan includes putting in expected tax and energy efficiency rebates back into the project, pending City Council approval.

As part of their agreement with the city the Timberwolves and Lynx will guarantee the estimated $6.5 million necessary to build a new skyway on the venue’s back end and to replace seats, according to a city staff report. Taylor is also looking to finance improvements related to Wi-Fi and more digital signage, the team said in a statement.

Along with other potential improvements like upgrades to the Target Center’s team store and locker rooms, the city estimates these additional improvements to cost a total of $7 million.

“As we progressed in the renovation, it became evident that there were additional needs if we wanted to realize this collective vision of ours. We want to deliver an incredible experience for our fans and everyone who comes to Target Center,” Taylor said in a statement. “These additions will give the building greater technological capabilities, allow fans to enter and exit the building with more ease, and provide a more comfortable experience for fans visiting Target Center.

Through updates on the Target Center the city expects to receive $1.5 million to $3 million in sales tax rebates from the state, along with energy efficiency rebates from local utility providers — the city estimates a six-figure rebate due to energy-efficient LED lighting upgrades, for example — which it would reinvest back into the project.

City staff also expect state dollars could help fund the construction of a proposed skyway connection between a state-owned parking ramp and the Target Center.

Jeff Johnson, the city’s project manager on the Target Center renovation, said the updated agreement before the City Council gives the city more flexibility in bringing in additional partners and funding to the project.

The city doesn’t anticipate the additional investments will affect the project’s timeline. Construction work should wrap up this fall after the Target Center shuts down this summer.

The current renovation calls for modernizing the venue’s exterior with metal cladding in various shades of brown, a new five-story glass atrium at 1st & 6th and several interior improvements.

Work on the Target Center is about 38 percent complete, Johnson said, and about $41 million has been invested so far. Last fall, the teams opened an expanded club space and new small group-oriented theater boxes. Crews are now working on a new loading dock, new elevators and preparing the exterior for new materials.

The previous cost of $128.9 million broke down to $74 million from the City of Minneapolis, $49 million from the teams and $5.9 million from AEG, the arena’s operations manager.

“Target Center is a building that the public owns and is a community asset; it’s great to see our tenants and partners with the Timberwolves and Lynx organization continuing to make major financial investments in upgrades,” said Council Member Lisa Goodman, whose ward includes the venue. “The renovations are clearly going to change the face of the building inside and out.”