New York Racing Association to Overhaul Belmont Park
New York lawmakers have approved a $455m loan to fund the renovation and modernization of the Belmont Park race track.
Major Investment for NYRA
The state government will provide the loan to the non-profit racetrack operator, the New York Racing Association (NYRA), which will undertake the development of a new thoroughbred racing facility at Belmont Park.
The project will replace the current grandstand and clubhouse with a new, smaller 275,000-square-foot building designed to reflect the evolution of racing and wagering since the site was last redeveloped in 1968.
The NYRA stated that the loan, which will be repaid to the state government, will have no cost to taxpayers. The new building will include modern amenities and hospitality offerings that are common in sports venues today.
The project is expected to create 3,700 construction jobs and produce $1bn in construction-related economic impact, while the new racing and non-racing facilities will generate $155m in annual economic impact and support 740 new full-time jobs.
NYRA president and CEO David O'Rourke said that the "transformation of Belmont Park will secure the future of thoroughbred racing in New York State, create thousands of good jobs, and drive tourism to Long Island and the region for decades to come."
The new and re-imagined Belmont Park will host the Breeders' Cup World Championships, which have not been held in New York for a long time. Following the completion of the project, Belmont Park is expected to annually generate $10m in new state and local tax revenue.
The NYRA will engage organized labor to develop the project, which will also expand the amount of parkland available to fans by developing the "Belmont backyard."
However, the project has faced opposition from the End Horse Racing Subsidies campaign organization, whose spokesperson Edie Falco criticized the project for its dubious benefits.
Falco questioned the economic development and jobs claims made by NYRA supporters, which she claimed have never been independently verified.