Target Center before renovation

Original 1990s Target Center First Avenue and Sixth Street corner before renovation.

Target Center Atrium Curtainwall

Demolition of Target Center’s concrete corner has been replaced with a new three-story glass atrium and serves as the new main entrance.

Target Center Renovation
Owner: City of Minneapolis
Contractor: Mortenson Construction
Architect: Alliiance Architects
Architectural Glass & Metal Contractor: Empirehouse
Total Glass Area: Approx. 14,000 total square feet
Completed: October 2017

When built in 1990, the Target Center was one of the post-modern era architectural structures of that time and built on the edge of Minneapolis. Over the course of 27 years of the city’s continued expansion, Target Center is now situated at the heart of Minneapolis. The passing decades of use required major updates. That’s when it was decided to renovate the Target Center using its sound foundation—saving $350 million over the cost of tear-down and new construction. After several years of planning, coordinating, and hard work by 2,000 tradesmen and women, the newly transformed Target Center welcomed fans for the Timberwolves’ Home Opener on Friday, October 20, 2017. 

Empirehouse teamed with Mortenson Construction and Alliiance Architects as the architectural glass and metal contractor and a collaborative partner on the Target Center renovation project to transform a closed-off concrete façade into a modern and inviting light-filled space for patrons to enjoy for decades to come. The Target Center renovation project is an excellent example of transforming a 27-year-old structure into a modern and relevant facility that re-connect it with the look and feel of the neighboring warehouse district. This also meant replacing blocked views of concrete with windows of transparency where Target Center patrons can look out to see surrounding city life, while those passing by can sneak peeks of Target Center sports and concert life within. This “seeing in and seeing out” was part of the fan experience that the design team had intended.


Design-assist services with Mortenson and Alliiance included:

  • Early schematic design review
  • Early logistic coordination
  • Preconstruction
  • Value engineering
  • Design collaboration
  • Cost control

The dynamic glass features include:

  • A three-story, light-filled glass atrium featuring a monumental span curtainwall application at the corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street which serves as the new main entrance
  • Remodeled Executive Suites with 25 all-glass entrances and approximately 500 lineal feet of all-glass drink railings
  • A new skyway lined with bird-safe glass and railings
  • Level 3 bullet-resistant security glass ticket box office with decorative glass fins
  • Twelve heavy-tempered folding and sliding glass wall systems with swinging doors
  • Approximately 4,500 total lineal feet of aluminum cover replacement on an existing exterior curtainwall system
  • Approximately 2,000 lineal feet of LED light boxes in the exterior metal panel façade
  • Curtainwall replacement along Sixth Street
  • Approximately 6,000 square feet of interior glass partition
  • Interior glass hand railings leading to an upper-level glass floor with iconic artwork
  • Lexus Club decorative back-lit onyx glass wall
  • Lynx and Timberwolves decorative shower doors with custom white laminated frosted finish
  • Hydro spa heavy glass walls
  • Overall exterior glass scope of approximately 14,000 total square feet

Photo by NanaWall Systems

One of the design-assist aspects of the glass and glazing scope were the 12 heavy-tempered folding and sliding glass wall systems with swinging doors. This became a cost-effective operable glass doorway solution to accommodate major volumes of foot traffic and meet the design intent of transparency and functionality. Photo by NanaWall Systems.

Security glass box office with decorative glass fins

Another aspect of the project Empirehouse provided design development, a method of installation coordination, 3-D modeling, and product recommendations was the Level 3 bullet-resistant security glass ticket box office with decorative glass fins.

Decorative Basketball Net Drapes from Glass Floor

Empirehouse accommodated the design intent while maintaining safety compliance for a two-inch thick, low-iron laminated walkable glass floor. A textured pattern was added to the glass for slip-resistance and a decorative basketball net drapes below.

Other glass and glazing elements that Empirehouse provided design-assist services were in the refurbishing of an existing curtainwall to preserve the original glass and structure and provide an updated face to the system; the Lynx and Timberwolves decorative shower doors with a custom white, laminated frosted finish; the new Skyway railing; and 2,000 lineal feet of LED light boxes which provide an illusion of windows in the exterior metal panel façade.

Logistics and scheduling

The Target Center renovation posed many logistic and scheduling complexities:

  • The jobsite was located in a congested major metropolitan location with zero site conditions which offered challenges in coordinating and moving material
  • The facility was made up of unique angles and geometry which created access challenges
  • This major renovation project was on an aggressive schedule coupled with work restrictions
  • The project endured significant design changes
  • The surrounding streets and skyway remained open during construction so the Empirehouse installation team needed to ensure the safety of facility occupants, traffic, and pedestrians while meeting project timelines and project goals


In addition to being an architectural glass and glazing contractor, Empirehouse is also a fully staffed fabricator a with the state-of-the-art production facility. The fabrications team worked long hours and weekends for the Target Center project to ensure that schedules were met with quality results. Fabrication teams constructed aluminum curtainwall, storefront, skyway, and door frames. There were many unique aspects of this project, including corner conditions, door frames, and the size of the steel conditions. The fabrications team came up with an innovative idea to use Hubtec lifting technology in order to safely and effectively insert the heavy steel bar into the vertical mullions. Their teamwork extended beyond fabrications where they partnered with the Project Manager and Installation Superintendent to keep the project on schedule. Frames were then shipped to the job site where Empirehouse glaziers installed them.


The Target Center renovation project was unique in the way that there was so much variety in the glass and glazing scope; From structurally glazed curtainwall, to atrium grand staircase and glass railings, to a walkable glass floor, to specialty art glass in the Lexus Club, to custom glass shower doors and heavy tempered glass walls, to ornamental, radius and picket railings, to a new skyway, to LED light boxes—everything was different

State-of-the-art technology was used on the Target Center renovation project such as Revit 3D modeling for the atrium curtainwall for clash detection and Total Station to render accurate measurements of the atrium grand staircase for engineering. These technologies saved time and provided accuracy when ordering material.

The Field Superintendent worked with the installation team throughout the project coordinating JLG Lifts and Cranes. A couple unique installations were setting the two 800-pound glass floor units with a gantry system and utilizing a bosun chair to set narrow glass lites within the atrium curtainwall where the JLG lift was unable to access.


Target Center Renovation Photo Gallery: (Click to enlarge)