Local Current Blog

North Minneapolis riverside amphitheater moves one step closer to reality

Proposed development of Upper Harbor site in Minneapolis. (First Avenue)

Will a riverside amphitheater in North Minneapolis become a reality? The plan, first proposed in 2016, came one step closer to being realized when Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $15 billion state bonding bill this week.

If everything goes as planned, First Avenue, United Properties, and Thor Construction would work together to build the amphitheater. Seating around 8,000 to 10,000 people, the new venue would be one of the largest in the Twin Cities area.

The proposed amphitheater is just part of a larger renovation of the entire Upper Harbor Terminal sitting between the Lowry Ave. and Camden bridges. The terminal closed down in 2015 after barges stopped coming to its port. Since then it has been sitting abandoned, with the exception of a mushroom farm that runs out of one of its warehouses.

Plans for the remodel include office, manufacturing, and retail space as well as affordable housing and city park land. In order for the project to move forward, the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board would have to come up with an additional $15 million to pay for all of the costs associated with the renovation.

Although it is unclear how the city and the Park Board will come up with the money, city spokesman Casper Hill told the Star Tribune that the city, the Park Board, and developers are going forward with creating a plan for the first phase of the project and will take “community input” before it goes back to the City Council and Park Board for approval and a discussion on how to come up with the $15 million needed for the project.

If and when the amphitheater does become a reality, who should be the first performer? Given that the site overlooks the island where Grimes’s homemade houseboat was marooned in 2009, a triumphant return might just be in order.

Simone Cazares is a student at Saint Paul College. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.