After more than a decade of planning, Canterbury Park is finally making steps toward transforming nearly 180 acres of undeveloped land around its racetrack into residential and commercial properties.
The proposed upscale living complex on the track’s west side, dubbed Canterbury Commons, includes 700 apartments, more than 150 townhouses and a 120-room hotel.
“When that thing is done it will have two swimming pools, a theater, and a concierge at the front desk,” said Michael Kerski, Shakopee’s director of planning and development. “There’s no product like that in our market at all. It’s what we call super-luxury.”
Over the past 15 years alone, Shakopee’s population has nearly doubled to 40,000 residents — attracting major employers like Amazon, Shutterfly and Entrust Datacard — but the city has been unable to keep pace with the growth, at least partly because no new apartments have been built there in a dozen years.
Canterbury Commons, as well as an upcoming project in Shakopee’s historic downtown, could help solve the city’s housing crunch.
The City Council is working with Minneapolis-based developer CPM Cos., which plans to buy and demolish City Hall and replace it with a 70-unit, market rate apartment complex geared toward young professionals. A few blocks away, the city is buying property at 321 First Av., which it will sell to CPM to build a 100-room boutique hotel.
City staff will move to the new $8.5 million City Hall on Gorman Street in late July.
Officials have called the downtown developments a “catalytic project” that will help attract tourism to the region and spark further growth.
The proposal will help draw residents back to Shakopee’s urban core, offering an alternative to single-family homes on the outskirts of town and creating foot traffic that should have an immediate impact, said former Mayor Brad Tabke. A hotel near Huber Park will provide a growing contingent of wedding parties a view of the Minnesota River and access to the State Trail.
“This will deliver into the back doors of all the downtown businesses,” Tabke said. “It will be a huge economic boost to downtown and how it functions, looks and feels.”
At Canterbury, the state’s premier racetrack, plans for a neighborhood with multifamily housing, commercial and office space have been in the making for years. The recession stalled those ideas (including moving the park’s stables to make room for the developments). Instead, owners shifted their focus to housing, with the hope that retail would soon follow.
“To move the barns and properly build dormitories was too expensive,” said Canterbury spokesman Jeff Maday. “The return on investment just wasn’t there.”
The new developments will build on the “River South” branding effort, which touts amenities like Canterbury Park, Mystic Lake Casino, Valleyfair amusement park and the annual Renaissance Festival. A public hearing on the Canterbury Commons project will take place July 6 at City Hall. Officials hope to see construction begin as soon as this fall.