Arlington Heights wants to take over Churchill Downs
Posted: May 5, 2021 at 2:05 am.
Last update on: May 5, 2021 2:05 am.
Even as Churchill Downs Inc. progresses on its plan to close and sell Arlington International Racecourse, officials in one Chicago suburb are taking action to eventually save the track, or at the very least, have their a say in what’s going on with the property’s nearly 330-acre property. of prime real estate.
At its Monday meeting, the Arlington Heights Village Board of Directors approved two measures. One was a resolution that said the village will consider zoning the property to restrict certain uses.
The other was an ordinance that would prohibit Churchill Downs from imposing usage restrictions on the site. This way, the buyer or buyers of the property could still allow racing at a site where horses have galloped since 1927.
Horse racing has lost its luster in recent years as several once important tracks have been closed. However, the village embraces the track as a central part of its identity. The center of the village seal is a letter A in the shape of a horse’s head and neck.
Resident Sean Stevens addressed Council on Monday. He spoke about the history of the track which is in front of his house. He realizes that Churchill Downs has a say in who buys it. However, he hopes to see the tradition continue.
It’s something you don’t want to just tear down, ”he said. “It’s literally one of the most beautiful trails in the country, world famous.”
He found favorable ears on the part of Council members, who voted unanimously on both measures.
“I don’t want to see the trail go away, but it’s not mine,” said village administrator John Scaletta. “It’s up to whoever buys the property, but I think it’s important to leave the door open so that it can possibly remain a lead.”
Auction underway for Arlington
At the end of February, officials at the Louisville-based game company officially announced their intention to sell the track. The company has announced that the 2021 meet will almost certainly be the last. The meeting started last week and will run until September 25.
Even before that, however, many players in the racing industry expected a sale. After Illinois racing officials finally persuaded state lawmakers to pass an expanded gambling bill that allowed lanes to sue casino gambling, Churchill Downs refused the opportunity to seek a Licence.
By then, he had already purchased a controlling stake in Rivers Casino Des Plaines, the state’s most popular casino. It is located just 20 minutes from Arlington.
A representative for Churchill Downs did not return a message on Tuesday requesting comment.
However, on April 21, the company gave an update to stock analysts during its first quarter earnings call.
Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen told analysts the auction process for the 326-acre property is underway. He said the auction will allow the games company to “deploy this currently locked-in capital more efficiently” in its other projects.
The preliminary submission date has been set. Although Carstanjen has not revealed it, he said it will be at the end of June.
“And as these offers come in, in the second quarter, we’ll evaluate them and determine the next steps,” he said. “I think the ultimate conclusion of this process is something that I cannot responsibly predict for you, as we will have to see the nature of the offers and if the property is split between multiple bidders or if it is ‘a single bidder, et cetera. “
Despite Arlington putting on the block, Carstanjen said Churchill Downs remained the race committee in Illinois.
A real estate company sees several options for the property
The company is working with commercial real estate company CBRE to market Arlington to potential bidders.
CBRE boasts that the track resides in an upscale part of the Chicago area. There are nearly 200,000 households within seven miles of Arlington. The average household income is over $ 115,000 and the average house price is over $ 340,000.
Within five miles of the trail, nearly a quarter of households earn more than $ 150,000.
Some of the development possibilities offered by CBRE for the site include a residential community, an entertainment venue, a corporate campus, a sports center or a logistics hub.
On Monday, several board members said they didn’t want to see the land turned into a warehouse park for a company like Amazon.
Arlington Heights curious about the interest of the race
It remains to be hoped that a buyer would be prepared to step in and buy the track at Churchill Downs. This of course depends on the acceptance of the offer by the seller.
This would almost certainly require the buyer to apply for a gaming license. That way there would be slot machines on site. This income would increase purses and attract more horses to run during the summer.
This is why Arlington Heights is seeking to prevent Churchill Downs from putting an alliance restriction on the trail. Such a provision could prevent a buyer from offering races or games on the site.
We don’t know if there will be serious interest from other buyers in horse racing, but given this long history, we want to make sure the village is doing everything it can to preserve the horse racing option. this site, ”said village director Randy Recklaus.
After the meeting, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said Casino.org via email that the council’s actions give the community more control, “but not ultimate control” over the fate of the trail.