Behind the Scenes at Target Center

Posted on September 18, 2017, by
Target Center Tour

A few Empirehouse employees attended the Construction Specification Institute Target Center Renovation Tour and Presentation Event where we saw years of planning, coordinating and hard work come together. Empirehouse was awarded the Architectural Glass and Metal contract for the Target Center renovation project by Mortenson Construction and work with Alliance architects as a design-assist partner. Construction for this project has been underway for the last year-and-a-half and is nearly complete as the Timberwolves season begins in October.

A terrific turnout of nearly 100 industry professionals attended the Construction Specification Institute (CSI) Target Center renovation tour and presentation event held Monday, September 18, 2017. The presentation was given by the Target Center renovation project heads who were involved in developing the vision, transformation, and scope and budgetary alignment: TEGRA Group Partner/Co-founder Dick Strassburg, Alliance Architect/Principle Ross Naylor, and Mortenson Executive/Project Manager Jon Hines.

The Vision
TEGRA Group Partner/Co-founder Dick Strassburg has worked diligently with the City of Minneapolis, the Timberwolves and Lynx, and with the Operators (AEG) to accommodate the three parties’ needs (and many of their wants) within the limited budget of $130 million. After five years of negotiations and consensus in how to extend the useful life of Target Center, many trades came to the table, including Empirehouse, to provide design-assist services in order to minimize costs while preserving the design intent and to ensure system constructability. “It was a transformative experience to stretch the dollars,” Strassburg said. “And we exceeded expectations.”

The Transformation
Alliance Architect/Principle Ross Naylor said that the design intent of this make-over was to re-connect the look and feel of Target Center with today’s Minneapolis that now surrounds it. This meant knocking out blocked views of concrete and replacing walls with windows of transparency where Target Center patrons can look out to see the surrounding city scape, while city on-lookers can sneak peeks of the Target Center sporting and concert life within as they walk, pedal or drive by. This “seeing in and seeing out” was part of the fan experience that the design team intended, as well as blending the renovation design elements inline with Butler Square and the surrounding warehouse district.

The Scope and Budgetary Alignment
Adding to negotiations and budgets are the challenges of transforming a sports center built on a small footprint which is located in the center of a major city with zero site conditions; meeting an aggressive schedule with site restrictions; accommodating $18 million in added scope changes; and working safely around existing facility occupants.

When built in 1990, the Target Center was one of the post-modern era architectural structures of that time, and it was Mortenson Construction’s first sports project according to Mortenson Project Manager Jon Hines. Since then, Mortenson has gone on to manage numerous sporting facilities around the country including the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. “Target Center played an important part in who Mortenson became,” said Hines.

It is fitting that Mortenson would be the General Contractor to head up the Target Center renovation project nearly 30 years after its inception.

John Hines TourDuring the Target Center Tour led by Mortenson Executive/Project Manager Jon Hines, he described the major transformations of the renovation, including the demolition of the concrete corner and construction of the multi-level, floor-to-ceiling glass atrium which was fabricated and glazed by Empirehouse.

First Avenue and Sixth Street corner entrance before renovation.

First Avenue and Sixth Street corner before renovation.

Main entrance curtainwall

Target Center glass atrium (and new main entrance) during construction also shows LED glass light boxes within the new exterior metal panel façade that attaches to the existing structure.

Glass Railings

Glass railings in the three-floor glass atrium.

Atrium Curtainwall and Glass Floor

Atrium curtainwall and glass floor.

Decorative Basketball Net Drapes from Glass Floor

A decorative basketball net drapes from the textured pattern, slip-resistant glass floor.

Security glass box office with decorative glass fins

Security glass box office with decorative glass fins.

Glass NanaWall

Twelve heavy-tempered folding and sliding NanaWall system with swinging doors became a cost-effective solution to accommodate major volumes of foot traffic and meet the design intent of transparency and functionality.

Executive suite glass doors

One of twenty five Executive Suite Level glass entrances.

New skyway with bird-safe glass

New skyway, glazed with bird-friendly glass, adds easy access from Parking Ramp A.

New Curtainwall

New curtainwall with great views of the city.

Drink railing

State-of-the-art central scoreboard; glass drink railings at the Executive Suite Level; and expanded seating.

Forms and Surfaces in the Lexus Club

Forms and Surfaces in the Lexus Club.

Alana Sunness Griffith, FCSI, CCPR, North Skies Architectural Sales Representative and retired Empirehouse Executive, also attended the CSI Target Center Tour and Presentation. “The Target Center remodel is an excellent example of how buildings can be reborn!” she said. “The fresh new design and openness of this newly remodeled 1990’s building has made this an important part of the North Loop revival. Empirehouse’s team was dedicated to providing not only superb products and exceptional installation skills to this building, but they also brought their spirit and dedication to make this project one to be proud of for years to come. Their evidence in delivering a promise of excellence as a great company, with great people producing great results!”

For Empirehouse Marketing & Image Coordinator Jennifer Klitzke, “It was thrilling to see the much-talked-about aspects of the Target Center renovation come together: The multi-level, floor-to-ceiling glass atrium; glass railing leading to an upper level glass floor with iconic artwork; new skyway lined with bird-friendly glass and railing; the NanaWall folding glass wall system; and looking out of the large concourse windows throughout gave me a sense of where I am within the city.”

Empirehouse Design Assist and Client Collaboration Services with Mortenson Construction and Alliance include:

  • Early schematic design review
  • Early logistic coordination
  • Preconstruction with Mortenson
  • Value engineering
  • Design collaboration
  • Cost control
  • Post bid interview with Mortenson

“It was amazing to see the work the Empirehouse team did on this project with Mortenson,” said Empirehouse General Manager James Bringle. “I am very proud of the planning, coordination, commitment and dedication of our team.”

The Target Center renovation was the first of its kind since it was built nearly 30 years ago. Soon enthusiastic fans will get to experience this exciting new space first hand.

Target Center Renovation Photo Gallery: (Click to enlarge)


Empirehouse is an NACC Certified Glazing ContractorEmpirehouse is a certified NACC Architectural Glass & Metal Contractor for demonstrating consistency, quality and safety excellence. Empirehouse has met the NACC program requirements which have been established by a Certification Board of AG&M contractors, industry experts, and end user stakeholders and formally accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to the globally-recognized ISO/IEC17065:2012 standard.

For your next project, trust a Certified NACC Architectural Glass and Metal Contractor for quality results. Contact Empirehouse at 763-535-1150 or contact us.


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Photography and written by Jennifer Klitzke, Empirehouse Marketing & Image Coordinator. For more information about Empirehouse, contact jklitzke@empirehouse.com.