The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx hosted a grand opening for their new $25 million practice facility and corporate headquarters at Mayo Clinic Square today, located directly across the street from Target Center.
The event started around 11:30 with opening remarks from Glen Taylor.
"I'd like to welcome all of you to our new home to help us celebrate our dreams of several years of hard work that has resulted in what you'll see today," the Wolves owner stated.
"The Timberwolves and Lynx had a vision, to not only provide a place for our teams to practice, but to establish a world-class, gold standard training facility for all of our players, and a cutting-edge work environment for all of our employees. We feel as though we are inventing a new model for sports teams. Having our practice courts right next to our sports medicine hub will allow us access for the elite athletes to be treated by the elite in the field of medicine."
Taylor concluded his speech by proclaiming, "The future is bright for the Timberwolves and the Lynx, both on and off the court. Today will be a day that we will look back on years from now as a game changer in our franchise history."
"Gold standard" and "game changer." Those were the two buzz words heard throughout the event. Seeing everything up close and personal made it impossible not to nod in agreement. The practice facility, offices, and clinic were truly impressive.
"I get the pleasure and the honor as commissioner of the NBA to tour not just facilities around the NBA and WNBA, but athletic facilities throughout the world," said Adam Silver. "I've been to some of the great soccer clubs in Europe, some of the great sports organizations in Latin America, and frankly, I've never seen anything like this. I heard you say the gold standard. This is truly the gold standard."
After the ceremony wrapped up, along with individual interviews with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, WNBA President Laurel Richie, Mayo Clinic President & CEO Dr. John Noseworthy, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, and Taylor, of course, the tours started. Walking around Mayo Clinic Square, getting a glimpse of each part of the building was especially cool.
The whole tour was impressive, and an upgrade like this is something the Wolves and Lynx have needed for years. But rather than describing the tour, I took the video (above) for your viewing pleasure. If you have any questions about the new facility comment below and I'll do my best to answer them.
Official Press Release:
Minneapolis/St. Paul - The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx unveiled the Timberwolves and Lynx Courts at Mayo Clinic Square today by hosting a grand opening ceremony featuring NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, WNBA President Laurel Richie, Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor, Mayo Clinic President & CEO Dr. John Noseworthy and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. The facility, a $25 million all private investment, is home to the teams' new training center, basketball and business operations, the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center and the Timberwolves and Lynx Basketball Academy.
Construction on the project began in February 2014 when the Timberwolves, Lynx and Mayo Clinic announced a new partnership that included plans to develop the training center and state-of-the-art sports medicine center in 600 Hennepin Ave., now named Mayo Clinic Square. Occupying the third and fourth floors of a former movie theater, the 107,000 sq. ft. facility includes expanded training areas and two basketball courts, with the Timberwolves and Lynx each having a primary court. The 20,000 sq. ft. Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center opened in October 2014 and is directly connected to the teams' training area.
"This is a very exciting day for our teams and entire organization as we open this world-class facility," said Rob Moor, CEO of the Timberwolves and Lynx. "This training center is a game changer for our organization and is unlike anything you'll see in the NBA, WNBA or all of professional sports."
With the opening of the training center, the Lynx are the first WNBA team to have their own dedicated practice space, which includes their own court, locker rooms and training areas. The location of the training center also makes it unique. While many practice facilities are built in non-descript office parks, the Timberwolves and Lynx Courts at Mayo Clinic Square is located in downtown Minneapolis and right across the street from Target Center, the teams' home arena.
"What really makes this facility one-of-a-kind is our partnership with Mayo Clinic, which combines the gold standard in health care with our elite athletes," said Moor. "With Mayo Clinic right next door, our players have instant access to one of the most sophisticated and respected medical systems in the world. The combination of our new training center and partnership with Mayo Clinic allows us to develop our players to 100 percent of their ability and is a great asset for retaining and attracting the top talent in the NBA and WNBA."
The Timberwolves and Lynx former practice facility was a shared single court and training area located below the ground level of Target Center, two floors underneath the locker rooms.
With the Timberwolves/Lynx and Mayo Clinic signing on as anchor tenants in Mayo Clinic Square, the building underwent a separate interior and exterior redevelopment that was privately funded by its owner Camelot LLC. The building was transformed from a former retail and entertainment center into a mixed-use building with restaurants and office space on the first and second floors.
Note: Apologies for not shooting the video in landscape mode. I'm clearly a rookie.