MINNEAPOLIS - There was a big discussion in Minneapolis on Thursday about a possible renovation of Target Center.
Jeremy Hanson, the Director of Community Planning and Economic Development for the City of Minneapolis, had a captive audience as he reviewed the $97 million Target Center Renovation agreement for council members. Those very council members will vote on the plan in a couple of weeks.
"This deal has been about 3 years in the works," Ted Johnson, a Senior Vice President for the Minnesota Timberwolves, explained. City council members are well versed on the proposal.
"We own the building. It's in our best interest to invest in that facility that we own," Council President Barb Johnson told KARE 11. She also told us that the votes are there to pass the proposal.
"We think it's a darn good deal," said Mayor RT Rybak. Rybak is a few months away from ending his 12th, and final year, in office. He's been trying for years to find a way to get Target Center the physical and financial help it needs. He says the city spends $5 million in property tax money to support the arena every year. He says the city also annually spends $2 million a year on constant upkeep and renovations.
The mayor believes this deal will make those costs go away. "Generally, this is going to get us out of the hole that we were in," Rybak explained.
The city will pay for half of the $97 million renovation tab with revenue raised from a city sales tax. The team will pay 44% and the arena operator will pick up the final 6%.
Council President Johnson says this vote won't be close like the council vote on the Vikings Stadium project was.
Ted Johnson with the Wolves says a lot of the details have already been worked out. "Rather than doing a very quick term sheet and then spending a year, year and a half on the long form agreement, we decided to sort of tackle the difficult issues right up front in the term sheet," he said.
The public will have a chance to weigh in on the project on November 8th and then council members will vote on the plan the following week.
If approved, the physical work will begin in the spring and it'll take crews about 18 to 24 months to finish the job. City officials say the arena will remain open throughout the renovation project.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)