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First Avenue: We want an amphitheater people can bike to

Here's why First Avenue is interested in an outdoor amphitheater.
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After spending several years developing as an outdoor concert promoter, First Avenue is part of a just-announced development proposal to bring a live music amphitheater to north Minneapolis.

The location for the shed would be above the Lowry Bridge along the Mississippi River in the Upper Harbor Terminal area, according to a report in the Business Journal.

The Upper Harbor Terminal is described on the Minneapolis city website as a 50-acre section of land that since the '60s has handled barges. But the parcel "soon will be redeveloped to a mixture of park, business park and mixed uses," the city says.

And First Avenue wants in on the new space with an amphitheater.

"We spoke to other people that were interested and realized that our goals were aligned," First Avenue general manager Nate Kranz told GoMN. "It’s not easy to find a spot where you can build an amphitheater. We want it in the city where people can walk or bike, and we love working with the park board."

First Ave's partners for development include United Properties (which is owned by GoMN's parent company, Pohlad Companies).

The 8,000- to 10,000-seat venue capacity was chosen based upon research in other similar markets. It corresponds well with the size of shows First Avenue has put on at the nearby Hall's Island location, including Wilco, Alabama Shakes, and Trampled By Turtles' Festival Palomino.

"The amphitheater allows you to do a lot more things," Kranz said. "When you have a structure with amenities, and you’re not building and breaking down the stage each time, the expenses go down and you can hire a staff."

In terms of programming, Kranz alluded to expanding beyond doing about 10 rock concerts a year. He added he'd "never say never" to concerts in the winter.

While he put forth few other details, Kranz said that the venue is just one part of the development proposal.

And it should be noted, everything is still early in the process – this is not a done deal. The plan is scheduled to be introduced on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Folwell Park Recreation Center.

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