In yet another sign that sports stadiums and arenas are the gifts that keep on costing money, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is looking for $150 million in state money to renovate the Timberwolves‘ Target Center, which was built in 1990 and just renovated in 2004. The improvements this time around would include two large glass atriums, a new restaurant, and a complete remodeling of the inside to “make the building more attractive to traveling concerts and shows,” according to the Associated Press.
As for what’s in it for Minnesota to attract more traveling concerts and shows, that’s not so clear: The Target Center is managed by AEG, and while a quick scan of the operating agreement makes it look like the city gets a cut of revenues, it’s going to be tough to generate enough new money to pay off $150 million in renovations. I’m sure Rybak will cite increased economic activity outside the arena as a justification, but as we’ve seen time and time again, much of that would only be cannibalized from elsewhere in town, or at least elsewhere in the state — it’s not like a ton of people are going to be driving in from North Dakota to see the latest Limp Bizkit tour.
In any event, it doesn’t look like the Target Center reno plans are going anywhere for the moment: Rybak didn’t even include them in this year’s legislative funding requests. Still, elected officials seem eager to include the arena with the Vikings stadium and a new St. Paul Saints stadium on the state’s agenda sooner than later: “I think there will be an effort to at least throw out the idea of a solution for all of these facilities,” Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “A broader solution has to be found.” Be afraid, be very afraid.