Downtown Businesses Celebrate Target Center Renovations

Updated: 11/12/2013 7:08 PM By: Kate Renner

Major improvements to the Target Center get the final thumbs up from the city of Minneapolis, and nearby businesses already have high hopes.

The major improvements come with a $97 million price tag, half of that will be paid by the city of Minneapolis with taxpayer money. The rest would be paid by the Timberwolves and Lynx and the arena management company.

This could have a huge impact on the the Twin Cities.

The fortress-like entrance at Sixth Street and First Avenue will likely be a glass atrium. Which is a much more welcoming facade for the one million visitors who pass through those gates for games, events, and concerts.

And local businesses can't wait.

When you run a restaurant within walking distance of a concert venue, you might spot some stars. Bill Morris, General Manager of Ikes Steak and Cocktails says running into Bon Jovi in a restaurant is pretty cool.

Autographs are a big deal, but so are big profits whenever top concerts come to town. "I'll go from a $6,000 to a $7500, $8000 dollar night just because I get that influx in," says Morris.

Morris hopes the new and improved Target Center will draw in a new crowd to Ikes from the suburbs. "They're going to come down, have dinner, cocktails, if the concert ends early they'll have another one before they leave," says Morris.

For customers there will be more premium seating at the renovated Target Center. For performers, an easier set up and teardown.

Nate Kranz promotes some big concerts at the Target Center like the Black Keys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Kranz says venues must ask themselves, "did they have a good experience, was the load in easy, where the amenities modern? Especially, Kranz says, when you have a situation of competing arenas.

The visitors bureau "Meet Minneapolis" wants the newly renovated Target Center to give that other stadium over in St. Paul, some serious competition.

"Because it does so many events, perhaps we take it for granted, but when we get the new and improved facility it's going to be right back top of mind everybody," said Melvin Tennant, CEO of Meet Minneapolis.

So Bon Jovi could be one of many big name superstars to take the new stage.

A salesman with Ticket King says these days the Target Center really doesn't compete with the Xcel Energy Center. That venue got Elton John, Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Sting.

But they also hope that upgrades at Target Center will change that, and hopefully multiply the number of hot tickets sold in the Twin Cities.

The cost of the renovations will be split three ways. Minneapolis tax payers will chip in the most, at $48.5 million or half the cost. The Timberwolves and Lynx will pay $43 million, or 44 percent. And Target Center operator, AEG will contribute $5.5 million, or 6 percent.

Under the agreement AEG will operate the Target Center through 2032.