Canterbury Plans ‘Modernization’ Project For Stable Area, Dormitories

Canterbury Park Holding Company, the parent company of Canterbury Park, has announced plans to sell approximately 40 acres in the northeast corner of the property to Minneapolis based Swervo Development Corporation. Swervo will be using the land to build a state of the art, 19,000 seat amphitheater as part of the Canterbury Commons development project. The project will be subject to state and local regulatory approvals.

The development will necessarily initiate changes in the configuration of Canterbury’s backside which will include a renovation of existing facilities, the addition of new barns, stables and dorms, and a reconfiguration of the existing training track. Canterbury intends to present this redevelopment plan to the Minnesota Racing Commission for regulatory review in the second quarter of 2022. If approved, construction will start after the coming live racing season and will not impact the 2023 season.

“This is a significant investment in Minnesota’s horse racing industry and an important commitment by Canterbury Park,” said Pete Mattson, President of Minnesota HBPA. “The modernization of the stable area at Canterbury Park is important to the horses and people that call Canterbury Park home each summer. We look forward to working with Canterbury throughout the process to create an improved stable area for the future of racing in Minnesota.”

While the training track will be affected, the plan is for a reconfiguration of the track as well as larger and improved barns and dorms. Approximately 19 barns will be affected by the reconfiguration. More details on the layout will emerge when Canterbury presents the plan to the Commission.

“This significant investment in the stable area infrastructure, especially new dorms, should improve the overall experience of our dedicated backside workers,” said HBPA Vice-President Scott Rake. “These new modern living conditions could be among the best in the industry, which is absolutely what the individuals who work so hard to take care of the equine athletes deserve.”

While there is certain to be some apprehension with such major changes, there is optimism that Canterbury is keeping an eye on the future of horse racing in Minnesota.

“Canterbury is looking to expand and improve,” said Canterbury Hall of Fame trainer and HBPA Board Member Bernell Rhone. “Canterbury’s commitment to new barns insures their commitment to the future of racing. Change is not always met with favor, but their commitment is a positive move for racing. They’ve also kept the horsemen in involved in their plans with limited opposition.”

Canterbury announced the development of the underutilized land around the racetrack, Canterbury Commons, in 2018 with the intention of creating a residential and entertainment center in Shakopee. A 300-unit apartment complex has been completed with another scheduled to begin in the spring. Construction is also underway on townhomes and a senior co-op. Greystone Construction completed their new headquarters in October while an active-senior apartment complex has been announced. The amphitheater is the next step in the development.

Additional infrastructure support in the form of three new city roads, have improved access to the racetrack, allowing for the significant development.

“We are very excited about both of these projects and the opportunity to complement our horse racing, card casino and entertainment operations with a world-class outdoor music venue in Canterbury Commons. These projects will provide significant employment and economic benefits for the City of Shakopee and the surrounding region as well as enhance our horse racing operations,” Randy Sampson, Canterbury’s Chairman and CEO. “The amphitheater and barn area redevelopment projects, along with the other high-quality developments already underway, demonstrate our continued commitment to provide distinctive and complementary experiences that meet our guests and the community’s expectations and improve the quality of life in Shakopee and Scott County.”

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