The renovation of downtown Minneapolis' 26-year-old Target Center passed its final hurdle on Friday when the Minneapolis City Council approved the final design.
The nearly $129 million makeover will include major changes to the exterior of the building. Among them: The venue's front entrance will move a block down First Avenue.
Inside, the renovation includes mechanical and technological improvements, including a brand-new scoreboard and other amenities for fans and concertgoers.
Minneapolis city council member Lisa Goodman said the upgrades are necessary to keep the Target Center, which the city bought in 1995, a top-notch entertainment venue.
"Ultimately, it's our building," she said. We're responsible."
"I can't imagine what the alternative would be. Buy out the contract with the Wolves and Lynx? Have them move over to St. Paul? Spend $10 million to demo the building and hope that we would have someone to come in and pay more than that?"
Mayor Betsy Hodges applauded the council's decision.
"Renovating the Target Center will preserve and enhance it as an entertainment venue for decades," Hodges said in a statement Friday. "This is a sensible Minnesota solution that retains the value of the public money already invested."
The city will put up $74 million of the costs. The Timberwolves and Lynx basketball teams will pay nearly $50 million. The rest of the funding will come from AEG, the entertainment company that operates the arena.
The Target Center will close for nearly five months in 2017 during construction on the bowl of the arena. The renovations will force the Minnesota Lynx to play elsewhere.
Renovation is set to begin this spring and is expected to be completed in October 2017.