In a unanimous vote, the Minneapolis City Council approved a deal for a $97 million renovation of the Target Center on Tuesday.
The move spells a major change for taxpayers since they own the building. After Tuesday's vote, taxpayers will no longer pay for the arena via property taxes. That is expected to save city residents $5 million a year.
"That's equal to about a 2 percent property tax decrease," Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak explained. "We're lowering property taxes 1 percent this year. If we hadn't done this deal, we probably would have had to raise them 1 percent."
The estimated cost of a new arena is in the $500 million range, and advocates of the plan say extending the life of the current facility with an extensive upgrade is a far better deal -- especially since it also extends the lease of Minnesota's two basketball teams to 2032.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Next, planners will assemble a design group to hash out the details of the renovation. The designers will convene this winter and construction is expected to begin after the Timberwolves wrap up their 2013-14 season.
Design elements will include:
- Redesigning the exterior
- Reworking traffic flow patterns inside and outside
- Adding more meeting and gathering spaces
- Increasing seating capacity
Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor said the team will pay for almost 50 percent of the renovation for the 23-year-old building. The city of Minneapolis will contribute $48.5 million to the project, the Timberwolves and Lynx will pay $43 million and Anschutz Entertainment Group will pay $5.5 million.
Construction is expected to last 18 to 24 months but will take place in phases, allowing Target Center to remain open during most of the renovation, if not all of it, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said at a conference for the project's unveiling in October.
"Target Center has created plenty of memories in its 23 years, but has also contributed greatly to the Minneapolis economy," Rybak said. "This agreement means the Target Center will continue to keep Minneapolis a premiere entertainment destination and an economic engine for Minneapolis for another generation."
Rybak also said the renovation's passage is a win for Minneapolis taxpayers as it knocks $5 million a year off property taxes.