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Minneapolis, Wolves and AEG agree on $97M face-lift for Target Center

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It looks like Target Center will be ready for its close-up in a couple years -- after some major work.

The Timberwolves and Lynx, the city of Minneapolis and AEG have announced a $97 million dollar deal to renovate the 23-year-old, city-owned basketball and multi-use arena, more than two years after they unveiled the first renderings for the face-lift.

Minneapolis is contributing $48.5 million to the project, the Timberwolves and Lynx will be paying $43 million and AEG, the company that operates the arena, will be contributing $5.5 million. Minneapolis is using hospitality taxes that were freed up as part of the Vikings stadium deal.

"Target Center has been on the property tax rolls. Target Center should be moved off the property tax rolls," said Rybak.

The deal was announced at a press conference at Target Center this morning. It's less than two-thirds the size of the original $155 million plan unveiled in 2011. It isn't clear what impact the downsized budget will have on the original plans, although the renovation apparently still includes a new lobby and upgrading the arena entrance at 6th Street and 1st Avenue.

Here's the official description from the city's press release:

The renovation will include a redesign of the exterior; increased seating capacity for concerts and family shows; additional gathering and meeting spaces; improved pedestrian flow and easier access in and out of the building; additional clubs; improved amenities for all areas of the arena, including the upper and lower levels; and improved loading docks, among other features.

Officials talked about escalator improvements, better bathrooms and sound equipment, as well. The agreement also includes a $50 million capital reserve fund to keep the place up.

The deal is set to go before the Minneapolis city council's Committee of the Whole on Thursday, with final action on Nov. 12. Design work will run through the end of this year and construction is expected to begin in early 2014. The work should take 18 to 24 months, according to city council president Barb Johnson.

The deal also includes an extension of the Timberwolves and Lynx lease in the building through 2032.