Shakopee is on the verge of becoming a two-movie-theater town.
Plans are underway for a 10-screen Marcus Theatres complex on the edge of town, complemented by a 2,600-square-foot coffee shop and bakery next door.
The project comes at a time of tremendous growth for the south metro suburb. About 40,000 people are now living there. And the business boom of the last few years means more people are working there, too. With development showing no signs of slowing, city leaders are welcoming amenities to serve the growing population and — they hope — visitors from across the metro.
"These are projects that have been, in my opinion, long overdue in the community," Mayor Brad Tabke said. "I'm really happy to see that retailers and service providers and folks like that are recognizing that we have a very, very ripe market currently in Shakopee."
The new theater and coffee shop will be located at Southbridge Crossing on the easternmost edge of town, near the Shakopee-Savage border.
There's a lot of development activity in the area, said Steve Soltau, project manager and partner at Shakopee Crossings, the company working on development in the Southbridge area.
"The traffic and trade area that we serve with our development here is huge and getting stronger," he said.
A grocery store and credit union have popped up recently. Soltau said there's more to come, including possible office space and a hotel.
There's also been talk of a major development four miles away at Canterbury Park. That project, yet to be officially announced, would essentially drop a mini-neighborhood complete with multifamily housing, office space, a movie theater, grocery store and park outside Canterbury's gates. Word of it has drawn the attention of other businesses, Tabke said.
"Now, as we really have all these jobs coming to town, all these different things going on, I believe that retailers are starting to really focus on that area," he said.
Smaller theater will remain
On the other side of town, a 11-screen Marcus Theatres complex shares a strip mall with a diverse array of neighbors: an independent coffee and ice cream shop, an alternative learning center, a dollar store. The vast parking lot is pitted with potholes.
Ryan Koch, who owns Coffee Ta Cream, the coffee shop and ice cream parlor a few doors down from the movie theater, said most of his business comes from staff at the nearby alternative learning center and school district offices. The movie theater provides some crossover business, he said, but mostly on weekends.
The theater, which Marcus Theatres has operated since 1998, will continue to show older movies at discounted prices, according to a statement from Mark Gramz, executive vice president of Marcus Theatres. The new theater, meanwhile, will offer such amenities as leather recliners, handmade pizzas and a lounge that serves alcoholic beverages and a full menu.
Soltau said the need for a new theater is clear.
"All you have to do is go to Google Earth and look at where existing movie theaters are," he said. "It's a hole in a doughnut."