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Arlington Heights Desires to Put the Reins on Churchill Downs

Posted on: Might 5, 2021, 02:05h. 

Final up to date on: Might 5, 2021, 02:05h.

Whilst Churchill Downs Inc. progresses on its plan to shut and promote Arlington Worldwide Racecourse, officers in a Chicago suburb are taking steps to probably save the observe, or on the very least, have some say over what occurs with the property’s almost 330 acres of prime actual property.

Arlington Heights Desires to Put the Reins on Churchill Downs
An aerial view of Arlington Worldwide Racecourse. Churchill Downs Inc. is taking gives on the 326-acre property, which incorporates the observe (decrease proper), the parking heaps, and the barns and coaching space above and to the left of the higher parking zone. Officers in Arlington Heights, Sick., are attempting to maintain horse racing a chance on the almost century-old observe. (Picture: Google Maps)

At its Monday assembly, the Arlington Heights Village Board accepted two measures. One was a decision that states the village will contemplate zoning adjustments to the property as a way to prohibit sure makes use of.

The opposite was an ordinance that may ban Churchill Downs from inserting use restrictions on the positioning. That approach, the customer or patrons of the property might nonetheless permit racing at a website the place horses have galloped since 1927.

Horse racing has misplaced a few of its luster lately as a number of once-prominent tracks have closed. Nonetheless, the village embraces the observe as a central a part of its id. The middle of the village’s seal is a letter A within the form of a horse’s head and neck.

Resident Sean Stevens addressed the Board Monday. He introduced up the historical past of the observe that’s throughout the road from his home. He understood Churchill Downs has a say in whom buys it. Nonetheless, he hopes to see the custom proceed.

It’s one thing you don’t need to simply tear down,” he mentioned. “It’s one of the vital lovely tracks actually within the nation, world-renowned.”

He discovered supportive ears from Board members, who voted unanimously on each measures.

“I don’t need to see the observe go away, however that’s lower than me,” Village Trustee John Scaletta mentioned. “It’s as much as whoever purchases the property, however I believe it’s necessary to depart the door open that it might probably stay a observe.”

Public sale Underway for Arlington

In late February, officers with the Louisville-based gaming firm formally announced plans to sell the track. The corporate signaled the 2021 meet would nearly assuredly its final. The meet began final week and runs by means of Sept. 25.

Even earlier than then, although, many within the racing trade anticipated a sale. After Illinois racing officers lastly persuaded state lawmakers to move an expanded gaming invoice that allowed tracks to pursue on line casino gaming, Churchill Downs declined the opportunity to use for a license.

By then, it already bought a majority stake in Rivers On line casino Des Plaines, the state’s hottest on line casino. It’s positioned solely about 20 minutes away from Arlington.

A Churchill Downs consultant didn’t return a message Tuesday looking for remark.

Nonetheless, on April 21, the corporate gave inventory analysts an replace throughout its first-quarter earnings name.

Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Invoice Carstanjen advised analysts that the public sale course of for the 326-acre property is underway. He mentioned the public sale will permit the gaming firm to “extra successfully deploy this presently locked-up capital” into its different initiatives.

The preliminary bid date has been set. Whereas Carstanjen didn’t reveal it, he did say it could be by the top of June.

“And as these bids are available, within the second quarter, we are going to consider them and determine subsequent steps,” he mentioned. “I believe the last word conclusion of that course of is one thing I can’t responsibly predict for you as a result of we must see the character of the bids and if the property will get cut up up between a number of bidders or if it’s a single bidder, et cetera.”

Regardless of placing Arlington on the block, Carstanjen has mentioned Churchill Downs stays committee to racing in Illinois.

Actual Property Agency Sees A number of Choices for Property

The corporate is working with industrial actual property agency CBRE to market Arlington to potential bidders.

CBRE touts that the observe resides in an upscale a part of the Chicago space. There are almost 200,000 households inside seven miles of Arlington. The common family earnings is greater than $115,000, with the common house worth at greater than $340,000.

Inside 5 miles of the observe, almost 1 / 4 of the households earn greater than $150,000.

Among the many improvement potentialities CBRE suggests for the positioning embody a residential neighborhood, an leisure venue, a company campus, a sports activities heart, or a logistics hub.

A number of board members on Monday mentioned the one factor they didn’t need to see the grounds changed into a warehouse park for an organization like Amazon.

Arlington Heights Curious About Racing Curiosity

There stays hope a purchaser could be keen to swoop in and buy the observe from Churchill Downs. That, after all, is contingent on the vendor accepting the bid.

It additionally would nearly actually require the customer to use for a gaming license. That approach, it could have slot machines on website. That income would increase purses and entice extra horses to race through the summer time.

This is the reason Arlington Heights is looking for to maintain Churchill Downs from placing a covenant restriction on the observe. Such a provision might maintain a purchaser from providing racing or gaming ever on the website.

We don’t know if there’s going to be critical curiosity from different patrons for horse racing, however on condition that lengthy historical past, we need to be sure that that the village is doing all it could possibly do to protect the choice of horse racing being a part of this website,” Village Supervisor Randy Recklaus mentioned.

After the assembly, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes advised On line by electronic mail that the Board’s actions give the neighborhood extra management, “however not final management” over the destiny of the observe.

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