MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have finalized a plan to build a practice facility across the street from their arena in a vacant former movie theater.
The Timberwolves and their sister WNBA franchise the Minnesota Lynx announced Tuesday a partnership with the Mayo Clinic, which will also open a sports medicine clinic adjacent to the basketball areas. It's part of an extensive $50 million redevelopment of Block E, a failed retail and entertainment complex that opened in 2001 but has been largely empty for years. It will be renamed Mayo Clinic Square.
The Timberwolves and Lynx have used a cramped space in the basement of Target Center, where a fitness club is also located, for their practice court and strength and conditioning work. The new privately financed $20 million facility will open prior to the 2014-15 NBA season.
Most teams have practice facilities in suburban locations. While practices are closed to the public, the Timberwolves touted their plans to hold youth games and clinics and make the space as accessible and visible to the public as practical in their home on the west edge of downtown.
"We are going to break that mold, and we are really interested in having this facility be interactive with our community," chief executive officer Rob Moor said at a news conference.
The new space will be on the third level of the building. It will have two basketball courts, with the Timberwolves and Lynx each having a primary court, and include additional offices for coaches, scouts and staff, as well as expanded workout areas. Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders talked to team owner Glen Taylor about a practice facility when he first arrived in 1995.