Target Center redo: Architects chosen, drawings released

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Target Center is one step closer to an upgrade. A Minneapolis City Council committee has approved hiring two architectural firms to lead the $97 million renovation of the downtown basketball and entertainment venue, MPR News reports.

Architectural Alliance of Minneapolis and Denver-based Sink Combs Dethlefs released several renderings of their plans for the building Tuesday. Their design includes an iridescent metal exterior, more glass and improved connections with Target Field, which is just north of the arena. There would also be a new entrance on the corner of First Avenue and 6th Street.

The new design is focused on improving the user experience, according to Target Center officials, by providing easier access into and out of the building, better pedestrian traffic flow, more gathering and meeting spaces, and improved amenities throughout the arena.

City Council Member Jacob Frey said it’s a vast improvement over the current building, which he described as an “anthill,” according to MPR, because once you get inside "it's not really clear where you are."

Architectural Alliance has been involved in several large projects in Minneapolis over the years, including the Guthrie Theater, the Central Library and TCF Bank Stadium. Sink Combs Dethlefs has expertise in designing entertainment venues, and will focus on the interior work at Target Center, the Star Tribune reports.

Target Center was built in 1990 as the home of the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA team. It hosts nearly 200 large-crowd events per year, which adds up to about 1 million visitors per year.

The city of Minneapolis now owns the building, and has said the renovation is necessary because the facility is not competitive in attracting events "due to the building’s age and the construction of more modern facilities."

The $97 million is a fraction of what it would cost to build a new arena. Here's how the cost will be shared:

– The city of Minneapolis: $48.5 million

– The Timberwolves and Lynx: $43 million

– AEG, the operator of the building: $5.5 million

The deal also includes a $50 million capital improvement fund to be used to pay for future renovations. The agreement calls for the Timberwolves and Lynx to continue to play at Target Center until 2032, and AEG's contract to run the facility would be extended through 2032.

Rendering of Target Center renovation May 13, 2014

Rendering of Target Center renovation May 13, 2014

Rendering of Target Center renovations, May 13, 2014

Rendering of Target Center renovations, May 13, 2014

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