Lore, A-Rod Targeting Farmers Market Location for New Timberwolves Arena

Target Center, Minnesota Timberwolves
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Following one of the greatest seasons in franchise history, nothing could be more critical than the offseason in front of the Minnesota Timberwolves. With an ownership debacle yet to be resolved, and roster construction up against luxury tax constraints, few Wolves fans are worrying themselves with the possibility of a new arena, or where it would go.

But Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore aren’t your run of the mill Minnesota Timberwolves fans. They are minority owners trying to gain majority stake and majority control from Glen Taylor. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen.

Minnesota Timberwolves moving to Farmers Market area?

Right now the Minnesota Timberwolves have free advertising in the form of Bullseye the dog just beyond the Minnesota Twins Target Field. If they are going to abandon the aging arena though, keeping things downtown Minneapolis may not be the path forward.

Why? The City Council. But more on that in a moment. For now, they want to stay in the city and they are eyeing a location just a hop, skip and jump away from where they are now.

Longtime local insider, David Shama (ShamaSportsHeadliners.com) writes that Lore and A-Rod are “targeting land adjacent to the Minneapolis Farmers market at 312 East Lyndale Avenue North.”

A chance encounter with Alex Rodriguez at Target Center led to timely comments by the man, who along with partner Marc Lore, is in litigation to acquire controlling interest of the Timberwolves and Lynx.  “This team will never leave here.  We’re going to build down the street,” Rodriguez said recently to Sports Headliners.

If the two wrest control from Minnesota native Taylor, it appears a new arena near downtown could replace Target Center as the home venue for the Wolves and Lynx.

While Rodriguez didn’t elaborate on his comments during the brief encounter, multiple sources tell Sports Headliners he and Lore are targeting land adjacent to the Minneapolis Farmers market at 312 East Lyndale Avenue North. 

David Shama – Shama Sports Headliners
minnesota timberwolves next arena location possibilities - Farmers Market

Things couldn’t be more murky at this point, but there is no denying a new arena must be in the works. As the 29th oldest arena in the league, renovations continue to cost the franchise more than the building is worth, and banking in on public support is a surefire way to avoid backlash.

Related: Tim Connelly Agrees to Contract Restructure with Timberwolves

Target Center location is cramped

Similar to Target Field, Target Center was built on a very small footprint. While Minneapolis is a thriving city, it is a small downtown area in relation to other large locales.

When being utilized for events outside of basketball, the arena often directs support traffic to parking locations across from the Salvation Army under Interstate-394. The space around the arena leaves little room from operating procedures, and the parking situation can become tumultuous.

This isn’t the first time that land near the farmers market area has become a hot commodity. Shama says, “The United soccer club wanted to buy land in the area and build a stadium.  In the 1990s the Twins, looking to escape indoor baseball at the Metrodome, had the area on its list of possible sites for a stadium.”

Target Center
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Related: Kyrie Irving Wanted to Play for the Timberwolves but Danny Ainge Ruined it

How new ownership would go about funding the stadium remains unclear, but without a doubt, Lore and A-Rod would want public funding for this project. The problem with doing that in Minneapolis, according to Shama’s reporting, is the Minneapolis City Council, just as Uber and Lyft, which were nearly forced to vacate the city too.

It’s known the city has limited financial resources to keep up with Target Center improvements and probably limited intent to help with a new arena.  Members of the council are viewed by many Minnesotans as having anti-business positions and for taking controversial stances such as their spring ordinance for higher pay for Uber and Lyft drivers that almost ended badly needed service in the city for everyone from bar patrons to people with disabilities needing transportation for medical appointments.

“That city council is kind of crazy,” said the former NBA insider.

A former city insider said council members “don’t get it” as to where money comes from to run the state’s largest municipality.  She cited a lack of awareness about how important city sports and entertainment venues are to tax revenues. During and after the pandemic and George Floyd phenomenon, the number of downtown workers and visitors dropped dramatically. A saving grace for city coffers, she said, are the ticket tax revenues generated by patrons at Target Center, Target Field and U.S. Bank Stadium.

David Shama – Shama Sports Headliners

There are a multitude of suburbs that could work, if the city of Minneapolis (or Hennepin County) stands against public funding downtown. The Minnesota Vikings explored Arden Hills before settling on land downtown for their ship-inspired U.S. Bank Stadium.

Eagan is the home of TCO Performance Center, too, and other suburbs would love to put their bid in for a new arena to build their community around. But as of now, it seems that Rodriguez and Lore are most interested in the Minneapolis Farmers Market location.

But even if the aging, richest man in Minnesota Glen Taylor stays in charge, Target Center has to go. Outside of winning a title, no time has presented itself as a better option to spark those discussions than now. The future is bright for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and they need an arena that befits that hope.

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