The New York State legislature approved its budget for FY 2024 on 2 May. This included funding of $455m (PS362.0m/ EUR412.2m), which was used to renovate and upgrade Belmont Park’s racetrack.
The New York Racing Association, a non-profit organization that operates racetracks in New York State, is responsible for developing the project of building the new thoroughbred racing facilities at Belmont Park.
The NYRA stated that this “significant” construction project would not cost tax payers because it was funded by loans that operators are required to repay to the state government.
Belmont Park will replace its existing clubhouse and grandstand with a new structure that “reflects the evolution” in racing and betting since 1968, when the site was last renovated.
The new building will be smaller in order to reflect the decline of the racing scene in New York. The current 1,25 million square feet facility is set to be replaced by a 275,000-square-foot structure.
The NYRA says that the new building will feature many of the modern amenities, hospitality and sporting offerings found today in sports venues.
NYRA President and CEO David O’Rourke said, “The transformation will secure the future for thoroughbred racing on Long Island in New York State. It will create thousands of jobs and drive tourism into the region and Long Island for decades to come.”
“We thank Gov. Hochul and the legislative leaders of New York have recognized the importance of the project for the many New York families, small businesses and horse racing industries.
The organisation highlighted that senator Joseph Addabbo, and assemblyman Gary Pretlow played a key role in advancing the project. They are the respective chairs of Senate and Assembly Committees for Racing, Wagering and Gambling.
The NYRA announced that it would hire organised labour for the development of the project. This will also increase the amount parkland fans have access to by developing the “Belmont Backyard”.
“NYRA has committed to creating a world-class facility that respects the heritage and traditions of this iconic venue within a modernised overall building,” said O’Rourke. “We will create a revitalized Belmont Park, which will help it reclaim its position as the global capital for thoroughbred racing.”
Economic Impact of the Project
According to an analysis by the real estate consultants HR&A Advisers of the project, it will create 3700 construction related jobs and generate $1bn in economic impact.
The new facilities will generate an annual economic impact of $155 million and create 740 full-time jobs. Belmont Park is expected to generate new tax revenue of $10m per year after the completion.
The NYRA noted that “a new and reimagined Belmont Park” will ensure the return of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in New York, after a long absence. Breeders’ Cup announced in November that it would add Belmont Park to its rotation of host venues after NYRA’s modernisation.