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New views at center of Target Center's $140 million renovation

Twin Cities media get a look at the new three-story glass atrium looking out onto the corner of North First Aveneue and Sixth Street, one part of the $140 to $142 million renovation project of Target Center in Minneapolis. Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press 1 / 4
Improved loading docks and a new skyway entrance to the southwest corner of the Target Center are two parts of the $140 to $142 million renovation project. Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press 2 / 4
Large windows have been cut in the side of the Target Center, letting in daylight to the lower concourse and providing a view of First Avenue. Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press 3 / 4
A new $1 million ice floor, with pipes and coolant for hockey or skating rinks, is one part of the $140 to $142 million renovation project of Target Center in Minneapolis which is 70% complete. Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press 4 / 4

MINNEAPOLIS — It won't take visiting fans long to notice Target Center's renovation.

They'll walk right into it.

Target Center's new main entrance, located on the corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street, features glass windows that extend up five floors from the lobby atrium that consumes the top three floors. Previously, that corner of the building was a maze of narrow corridors.

Fans at Target Center, home court for the NBA Timberwolves and WNBA Lynx, will be able to look out into downtown Minneapolis, and people in downtown Minneapolis can see into the downtown facility, which opened in 1990.

"One of the challenges that Target Center has had traditionally, it was built as a concrete box," said Ted Johnson, the Timberwolves and Lynx chief strategy and development officer and senior vice president. "You could have Garth Brooks here for a record-breaking run of 14 shows, Western Conference Finals for the Timberwolves, and no one on the outside would ever know it because you couldn't see into the building."

Johnson emphasized the new views throughout much of a media tour Monday, July 17, of the $140 million renovation, which he said is 70 percent complete, on budget and on schedule to be completed days before the start of the upcoming Timberwolves season this fall.

There's an open plaza on the lower concourse where fans can gather and look out into the lower bowl during games and glass windows were placed throughout the arena to let in natural light, but he believes the biggest draw will be the atrium.

"It's probably one of the most iconic elements of the renovation," Johnson said. "I think this will become the gathering place."

But there are plenty of other elements. With new paint, lighting, seats, amenities and freshly renovated bathrooms, which includes new stalls to replace the troughs in the men's rooms, Johnson said "each and every square inch of surface in this building is going be touched in some way, shape or form."

There's even a new skyway entrance on the south side of the building, which is meant to ease congestion on the north side of the arena.

"The entire fan experience," Johnson said, "from when they walk in the building, to when they sit down to the food they get to the sights they can see to getting back out of the building is going to be improved dramatically."

It should get better for the players, too. The Timberwolves' new locker room has twice the square footage of the old one, which was about the size of a woodshed. There are also new showers and a training room with amenities such as hot and cold plunge pools—the types of things the Timberwolves and Lynx already had at their Mayo Clinic Square practice facility across the street, but weren't previously available at their outdated arena.

Fans can sign up for tours of the renovation on

"We" target="_blank">www.nba.com/timberwolves/NewDigs.

"We couldn't be more excited," Johnson said.

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