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Outdoor amphitheater proposed in Shakopee

Canterbury Park wants to sell 40 acres to a Twin Cities developer to construct a 19,000-seat music venue in the south metro suburb.

SHAKOPEE, Minn. — Editor's note: The video above originally aired May 4, 2019. 

The Twin Cities metro has long been considered a hotbed of music, and is a must-play stop for tours by many major artists. 

For decades, however, one thing has been missing: a large scale outdoor venue for summer and fall shows. That could change, if a proposed deal involving Canterbury Park goes through. 

The horse racing operation wants to sell 40 acres to Twin Cities-based Swervo Development Corporation to construct a state-of-the-art 19,000-seat amphitheater. The project would go up on a plot of land along Canterbury Road and Unbridled Avenue, and be a cornerstone of the Canterbury Commons development project. 

Swervo is the company behind the transformation of the dilapidated Minneapolis Armory, making it into a vibrant music and event center that can hold 8,400 people.  

Minnesota and the Twin Cities have long been lacking a mid-to-high capacity outdoor music venue. Major acts currently will play Alpine Valley in East Troy, WI, the amphitheater on Milwaukee's lakefront Summerfest grounds or even any of the grassy spaces along the Apple River in Somerset, with the Twin Cities losing out on the economic impact big shows can deliver. 

Also on the docket for Canterbury is a multi-million dollar project to renovate the operation's horse barn and stabling area, which would include renovation of existing facilities, the addition of new barns, stables and dorms and reconfiguring the existing training track.

That project also requires approval from the city of Shakopee and the Minnesota Racing Commission. 

Credit: Canterbury Park
The proposed stable area project would include renovating existing facilities, building new barns and dorms for workers, and reconfiguring the existing exercise track.

“These new proposed development projects are significant steps in our long-term vision to continue to position Canterbury Park, Canterbury Commons and the City of Shakopee as a leading regional destination that offers a combination of residential, hospitality, commercial, retail and entertainment attractions and experiences,” said Randy Sampson, Chairman and CEO of Canterbury Park.  

Swervo is currently working with the City of Shakopee to complete an environmental review of the amphitheater proposal, gauging the potential impact on traffic, sound, water, sewer and other environmental factors. The review has to find the potential impacts have been sufficiently considered and will comply with all local and state regulations.

Sampson says Canterbury Park has hosted large-scale music events in the past like Twin Cities Summer Jam, has the transportation infrastructure in place and most importantly has been a "good neighbor in Shakopee" for more than 27 years. 

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