Target Center Renovation Talks Hit a Snag

Updated: 07/23/2013 7:18 AM By: Jay Kolls

A Minneapolis City Council member tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Target Center renovation talks have slowed down over a longer financial commitment from the city.

Last May, the legislature and Minneapolis City Council approved funding for a new Vikings stadium and a $100 million dollar renovation of Target Center.

The Vikings have plans, an architect, and a builder with ground set to be broken on the project in October. Target Center has none of that and has not changed at all, even though city leaders hoped renovation would have started three months ago.

City Councilmember Gary Schiff says talks are stuck right now between the city, Target Center's managing company and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Right now, the renovation deal calls for the city to pay $50 million for the renovation. The other $50 million will be divided between the Timberwolves and AEG, the company that manages Target Center. That part of the deal appears to be fine.

But, Schiff says, things slowed down when the Timberwolves and AEG expressed a desire to have a long-term commitment from the city about future upgrades, which means a larger financial commitment as well.

Schiff says the city does not want to enter into an agreement that handcuffs future policy makers at city hall.

Schiff says none of this is a deal breaker, but it needs to be resolved before a renovation agreement is reached.

The Target Center Renovation Committee has not met at city hall since January of this year. Schiff says a deal has to be reached by the end of the year because the current funding mechanism for Target Center expires then and the new funding mechanism, using downtown sales tax money, needs to be in place by then.

Mayor R.T. Rybak is out of town and unavailable for comment and the Timberwolves front office did not return our phone calls. And, we were unable to connect with representatives of AEG.

Meanwhile, electronic pull tabs are supposed to pay the state's portion of the new Vikings stadium

A recent check with the gambling control shows E-pull tab money is adding up. As of June 19, there were 297 gaming sites. Gross sales this year are just under $16 million. The goal is $34 million per year.
At the end of March, E-pull tabs were only offered at 196 sites. At that time, they raised only $2 million.