Target Center celebrates 25 years with renovation update, naming-rights extension

An artist's rendering of the renovated Target Center.

The Target Center turned a quarter-century old Tuesday, and on its 25th anniversary representatives from the City of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx and AEG Facilities celebrated its history, and also announced an update on the renovation schedule and an extension with Target for the building’s naming rights.

From Timberwolves playoff wins and Lynx league championships to state high-school tournaments and high-profile music concerts, there have been plenty of memorable moments at the downtown arena. And, with a forthcoming renovation, public and private officials there will be many more to come.

"Target Center has been a key driver to a vibrant downtown Minneapolis," said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. "It was built in a blighted part of downtown, but in the past 25 years it has helped create one of the most lively entertainment districts in the entire country. A renovation of this city-owned building is a sensible way to keep it viable for years to come."

Some highlights of the $129 renovation have been announced, including: additional gathering spaces, clubs, a focus on traffic flow, improved guest amenities and preservation of recent investments. Besides redoing the exterior of the building, reconstruction will shift the main entrance to the corner of 1st Ave. and 6th St. and feature a five-story glass atrium.

The exact construction dates are still undetermined, but a rough timeline has been released. Phase 1 will begin next summer and address suite level, scoreboard and acoustic improvements; Phase 2 will start in Fall 2016 or Spring 2017 and commence the exterior work, loading dock and marshaling yard; and Phase 3, in Summer 2017, will tackle the new lobby, locker rooms, dressing rooms, public restrooms, concourse improvements, more club spaces and food and beverage improvements.

"The project schedule allows us to bring on some of the major fan improvements, such as a new scoreboard, before the start of the 2016-17 Timberwolves season," said Timberwolves and Lynx CEO Rob Moor. "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."

The arena will remain open during the first two phases of construction and close during the summer of 2017 to finish the major work. It’s not yet known where the Lynx will play during the closure.

At 25 years old, Target Center is already the longest-running naming rights deal for a stadium in American professional sports. The agreement has been extended and, as part of the new deal, the arena will get a new logo. Target CMO Jeff Jones said the company was "excited" to continue the partnership and "couldn’t be more proud to make an investment like this to help our hometown thrive."

For the next few months, design work will continue. Then, next spring, the project is slated to go in front of the Minneapolis City Council for final approval. Following that, construction will begin, with the expectation it will be completed by the fall of 2017.