Canterbury Park CEO Randy Sampson had a reason Tuesday to grin from ear to ear: After 10 years of trying, he finally got to break ground on the $400 million Canterbury Commons development.

“This is 10 years in the making,” Sampson said in an interview. “It’s great to see the project underway. It’s going to be a major benefit to the city as well as Canterbury.”

Canterbury Commons is a $400 million development that will sit on 130 acres adjacent to Canterbury Park, the horse racing track in Shakopee. Plans include a $100 million multi-family residential complex called the Triple Crown, upscale townhomes, senior housing, hotels, a potential water park, office space, new restaurants, family entertainment venues and more.

The first phase, which is under construction now, is comprised of the Triple Crown complex and is led by Doran Companies. The extension of Shenandoah Drive, which will provide access to the redevelopment while connecting neighborhoods to the east and west of Canterbury Park, is also in its early stages.

City officials and business leaders joined the Sampson family Tuesday before the open house to ceremoniously break ground — hard hats, shovels, and all.

“It’s an exciting day for Shakopee,” Mayor Bill Mars said. “This will pay dividends for years to come.”

Sampson thanked the Shakopee City Council for its diligence in making the project a reality.

“I thank the members of the Shakopee City Council, Mayor Mars, and the local business community for the support they have shown for Canterbury Commons,” Sampson said. “Redevelopment, and the public infrastructure that accompanies it, has been a long time coming. City staff and elected officials showed great diligence in the process, allowing us to get to this point and creating an asset for the entire Shakopee community.”

Kelly Doran, founder of Doran Companies, also addressed the crowd and called out Councilor Mike Luce in particular, thanking Luce for supporting the project when he was initially hesitant and planned to vote against it.

Looking out over the construction zone from the third floor Canterbury Park reception room, Mars urged everyone to imagine five years from now when the project is built out and bustling.

“If only we could fast forward five years,” he said. “The unlocking of Canterbury’s full potential has been talked about for a long time.”

“This public-private partnership will transform the area and bring high-quality housing, exceptional high-paying jobs, and greatly expanded retail, restaurant and entertainment venues,” he said.

Though several possible retailers and businesses have expressed interest in tenancy, Sampson was only able to reveal that the redevelopment’s first tenant will be Primrose Schools, a national system of accredited private preschools that provides early education and child care for children and families.

Details of an agreement that would bring a significant employer and its corporate headquarters to Canterbury Commons are also being finalized, but Sampson could not provide details about the business.

Sampson said he’s especially excited to transform the area near County Road 83 and 12th Avenue into more of a gateway to the community. That entrance to Canterbury used to be considered the horse track’s back door — until Highway 169 was built south of that intersection and made it a more prominent corner of town.

“That intersection should be the gateway to the Shakopee entertainment community,” he said.

Reporter and Lifestyle Guide Coordinator

Amanda McKnight has been a Southwest News Media reporter for four years. Amanda is passionate about accountability journalism and describes herself as spunky and assertive. She enjoys running, knitting, exploring nature and going on adventures with her hu

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