Today marked the grand re-opening of the Target Center after an extensive, beautiful, state-of-the-art renovation project. Here are the remarks I delivered at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Minneapolis, this is a great day!
Almost exactly two years ago, we all met here in the ticket lobby of the Target Center… Wait. I mean, not here, but in the old, dark, low-ceilinged, not-terribly-welcoming ticket lobby… I mean, holy smokes, what happened to the ticket lobby? This is amazing!
Anyhow, two years ago, we met in that ticket lobby to celebrate the 25th birthday of the Target Center—and at the same time, to say goodbye to the Target Center as we knew it.
Two years later, here we are, as the Target Center turns 27 tomorrow. Happy 27th, Target Center!
And like any 27-year-old, Target Center’s best days still lie ahead, starting today.
Of course, Target Center has already seen plenty of great days! Concerts from New Kids on the Block in 1990, to Beyonce two decades later, to Garth Brooks’ record-breaking runs here. It’s played host to the NBA All-Star Game, the NCAA Women’s Final Four, some thrilling playoff runs by the Timberwolves, and of course some championship heroics from the now four-time WNBA champion Lynx. And soon, the WNBA All-Star game.
It’s funny, because at 27, the Target Center is now the elder statesperson of stadiums in the Twin Cities — think about that for a minute! — and at the same time, with the completion of this fabulous renovation, it’s our newest addition. And what an addition it is!
If you stop to think about it, this building is very Minneapolis. Back in 2009, Target Center became the first arena anywhere in North America to install a green roof. Pretty fitting for one of America’s greenest cities.
So when faced several years ago with choices about the future of Target Center, we approached it in a very Minneapolis way.
We didn’t tear it down and spend millions on a new arena, like other cities have done in recent years. Instead, we chose to do what we do well here in Minneapolis. We recycled.
For only about a quarter of what a rebuild would have cost, we took the good bones of this building, and invested smartly not in tearing it down, but in renovating it. That’s right: we got this amazing arena for a quarter of the price of a new one, and extended its life for decades.
And during renovations, we also literally recycled — a lot: of the 4,500 tons of waste removed from Target Center during renovation, we recycled 3,600 tons of it, or 80 percent. Again, very Minneapolis.
Another way that this renovation was very Minneapolis was by putting equity at the heart of it.
On this project — which employed 2,000 people, for a total of 350,000 worker hours — we set some ambitious goals. We didn’t meet them — we exceeded them.
- We set a goal of 20 percent participation by small, minority- and women-owned businesses. We achieved 25 percent.
- This achievement was recognized just last night, when the Target Center renovation won the 2017 Large Project of the Year Award from the Association of Women Contractors. Fitting for the home of some very accomplished and successful women!
- We set a goal of 38 percent participation by minority, women, and apprentice workers. We achieved 49 percent.
Now today, we finally get to see the sparkling results of our smart Minneapolis investment: a newly renovated, rejuvenated, and revitalized Target Center that will be a first-class venue for world-class entertainment, a welcoming site for student and amateur athletes and their families, and a great home for our long-time anchor tenants, the Timberwolves and the Lynx — not to mention the home of the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game!
Many, many thanks are in order. I couldn’t possibly name everyone who deserves to be named, but let me call out a few.
First, and fittingly so: on behalf of the City of Minneapolis, a very big thank-you to our partners in this massive project, the Timberwolves and Lynx, and AEG. (Thanks also to Lifetime Fitness for adding their terrific renovation to this building.)
Thanks to the members of the Design Group:
- From the Timberwolves and Lynx: CEO Ethan Casson, former CEO Rob Moor, former team President Chris Wright, and Chief Strategy Officer Ted Johnson.
- From AEG: Target Center General Manager Steve Mattson.
- From the City of Minneapolis: CFO Mark Ruff, former CFO Kevin Carpenter, and Minneapolis Convention Center Executive Director Jeff Johnson.
Thanks also to the members of the Design Team: Mortenson Construction, Alliiance Architects, and the City’s owner’s representative TEGRA. Special thanks to the folks who actually did the hard work:
- Derek Hanson of Mortenson;
- Ross Nayler of Alliiance;
- Naomi Burchett of TEGRA;
- and Jack Barr of the City of Minneapolis.
And while many current and former elected officials in Minneapolis deserve thanks, I want to single out for special recognition former Mayor R.T. Rybak, City Council President Barbara Johnson, Council Member John Quincy, and Council Member Lisa Goodman for their many years of strong support of this renovation that helped get us to this great day.
Finally, let’s thank the construction workers who did the work here. Let’s thank the workers and owners of downtown and Warehouse District businesses who powered patiently through construction. Let’s thank the fans who can’t wait to return to this building. And let’s thank the people of Minneapolis for their consistent support of this publicly-owned facility that brings 1 million visitors a year to our city and returns $100 million in economic impact a year.
So, Target Center: on behalf of our dynamic, safe, and vibrant downtown and our entire fast-growing, welcoming city, to you I say, Happy Birthday, and welcome back!