With construction which began in 1988, and an opening in 1990, the Minnesota Timberwolves Target Center is one of the oldest venues in the NBA. The outside the Target Center actually has a more modern design than you would expect from a venue this old and, thanks to a series of renovations throughout the years, the inside is not as outdated as you would expect.
The first renovation of the Target Center took place in 2004. This renovation saw all 19,006 of the original seats being replaced by newer, more comfortable models. It also reconfigured the entire lower bowl, adding more seating in available areas, all in a bid to make the arena more fan friendly with better sightlines and more room. The Target Center ownership group was also forward thinking as a new, larger scoreboard was installed along with then state of the art LEF signing along the upper deck fascia. The result was a new look stadium with plenty of income generation potential.
One of the cooler features of the Target Center was another renovation project, this time in 2009. The green roof project which the building undertook saw a 2.5 acre roof renovation which saw the roof planted with species typical to the Minnesota prairie, including lupine, wild strawberry and dotted blazing-star. The roof, which will last 40 years, was the first to be installed on a North American arena and will capture about a million gallons of stormwater per year. In addition to this it will reduce the arena’s heating and cooling needs by 20-30 percent and help alleviate the “heat island” effect of city life.
With Seattle still looking for a new team to replace the Sonics, many had suggested the Timberwolves as potential replacements as the luster of the upgraded Target Center began to fade. With the city of Minneapolis having sprung for new stadiums for the Vikings, Twins and University of Minnesota football over the last decade, the money to find the Timberwolves a new arena simply isn’t there. There rumors however we put to rest when the city and team agreed on further renovation plans which will see the Timberwolves extend their lease at the Target Center until 2032.
Perhaps the biggest area where improvement is needed at the Target Center is in terms of player facilities. The locker rooms are among the smallest in the NBA – there are Minneapolis high schools which have better stocked weight rooms and there is just one practice court deep in the building. The planned renovations would see a total gut of these areas, increasing the ability of the Timberwolves to compete for the better free agents out there on the back of their facilities alone.
image courtesy of minneapolis.org