Hey, here’s something new: a sports construction project where the price is actually going down. The planned renovation of the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ Target Center, originally estimated at $150 million when it was approved as part of the Vikings stadium package last spring, is now expected to cost only $100 million, according to Minneapolis city officials. (Mayor R.T. Rybak last week called the initial figure a “very general, quick thing” and the new estimate “a pretty good working number.”) For this, the city is expecting to build a new glass atrium, ad boards, new concourses, and — here, just look at the website.
In exchange, taxpayers are getting … well, nothing that I can tell, except to “restore [the arena’s] competitiveness,” though given that the Target Center is one of the rare arenas that draws more than 200 events a year, it’s hard to see how much more competitive it could be. And the Timberwolves’ lease wasn’t up until 2025 regardless, and the team didn’t sign an extension in exchange for these latest improvements.
This will now be the third public expense on an arena that was built with private dollars back in 1990 (and done poorly, by at least one account), bailed out with public money in 1995, and renovated once already in 2004; I’d like to say it’ll be the last, but lord knows what will be needed to keep a building “competitive” in 2020. Holographic players, maybe.