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Target Center renovations get bogged down in details

A planned Target Center renovation is seemingly on hold while the city, the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) and building manager AEG debate the outlines of the deal.

Background: when the Minnesota Legislature approved a funding plan for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, Minneapolis officials included a $150-million renovation of the arena. As far as NBA arenas go, Target Center is pretty bland; it was built on the cheap, and most of the seating is situated in the upper bowl.

Since the legislative approval, the city has sought to downscale the renovation and is now talking about a $100-million makeover, but still wants the Timberwolves to contribute $50 million. That’s not sitting too well with T-Wolves officials, and that reticence has the lead city official lamenting the lack of a deal. From the Star Tribune:

“We’ve said that we need to have significant private contribution in order for us to do this renovation,” Hanson Willis said after a meeting of the committee. “And we don’t yet have confirmation about to what degree the private sector is going to contribute to this.”

Of course, the meeting Willis refers to is only the second time the city committee has met, which makes things still on the preliminary side. But the conflict is clear: if the renovation was downsized, then the Timberwolves want to pay less, but it’s not clear how much less. Another issue: the T-Wolves and AEG still need to come to an agreement on who pays what on their side of the ledger. Given AEG’s status as a company on the block, officials there may not want to burden any potential new owner with a large investment in Target Center.

This isn’t an insurmountable issue, and there’s plenty of time to work out a deal: the latest schedule from AECOM and Mortenson Construction has work on the project beginning on May 10, 2013.

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