Local Current Blog

Target Center shows off early renovations

Photos by Jay Gabler/MPR

Although the most dramatic changes are still ahead, an early phase of Target Center’s $150 million renovation is complete. On Wednesday morning, the venue invited reporters to the luxurious Chairman’s Club for a first look.

The press conference was primarily intended for the benefit of fans interested in the upcoming Frozen Faceoff NCHC hockey tournament, which will take place at Target Center on March 17 and 18. The hockey ice was ready for action (though it will have to come down again for Timberwolves games before the tournament), and hanging above the ice was the most dramatic improvement made to date: a giant electronic scoreboard, the largest such center-hung scoreboard in the Upper Midwest.

The other renovations will only benefit those with seats on the Treasure Island Resort & Casino Premium Level — a.k.a. the suite level. That level has been completely renovated, with sleek new modern furnishings and eye-catching spherical silver light fixtures.

Steve Sawyer, the venue’s director of hospitality, also introduced some of the food selections that will be available for the tournament: regional favorites like fried cheese curds. The arena’s entire food service is being reworked under the guidance of chef David Fhima.

Sawyer said fans’ food preferences are clear: they want hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, pretzels, and chicken fingers. The venue will continue to serve those basics, but they’re all being re-sourced for higher-quality, locally grown ingredients. A Target Center hot dog is going to be “one of the better” hot dogs you’ve ever had, said Sawyer.

The final phase of renovations is already underway and will accelerate after the NBA season ends; the Wolves’ last home game is on April 11, unless by a slim chance they make the playoffs. Then Target Center will close, with the Minnesota Lynx moving to the Xcel Energy Center for their 2017 season.

When the venue reopens in time for the Timberwolves’ 2017-18 season, there will be a range of external and internal improvements including new seats, a new lobby, a renovated skyway-level entrance, a new exterior look — with windows! — and wi-fi throughout the arena. Oh, and new railings.

Prior to the closure, Target Center will squeeze in a couple more music shows: Keith Sweat on April 7, and a Lil Wayne show that was originally scheduled for this Saturday but has now been pushed back to March 31. Here’s a look at what you’ll experience (sliders sold separately) if you have a suite seat for Weezy.

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