The 2024 New York budget bills approved by Governor Kathy Hochul and the State Senate and Assembly and released to the public Monday includes authorization for the New York Racing Association to utilize a $455-million loan to build new Thoroughbred racing facilities at Belmont Park. With the state approval, NYRA plans construction of a new building that will completely replace the existing grandstand and clubhouse. The current 1.25-million sq foot structure, which was last renovated in 1968, will be replaced with a roughly 275,000-sq ft facility featuring modern amenities and hospitality offerings.
“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,” said NYRA President & CEO David O’Rourke. “We thank Gov. Hochul and our legislative leaders for recognizing the importance of this project to the countless New York families and small businesses reliant on a strong horse racing economy.”
The new Belmont grandstand will dramatically increase the amount of parkland available to fans throughout the year by expanding the current Belmont backyard, while new vehicular and pedestrian tunnels will allow access to the 45-acre Belmont infield for the first time. NYRA expects to also expand its ongoing campaign to modernize backstretch housing and barn area facilities throughout the property.
“NYRA is committed to building a world-class venue that honors the history and traditions of this iconic property within a modernized overall facility,” added O’Rourke. “We will deliver a revitalized Belmont Park that will reclaim its place as a global capital of Thoroughbred horse racing.”
According to an analysis performed by HR&A Advisors, the multi-year project to build a new Belmont Park will generate $1 billion in construction-related economic impact and create 3,700 construction-related jobs. Upon completion of the project, additional racing and non-racing activities at the new Belmont Park will generate $155 million in annual economic output, support 740 new full-time jobs, and produce $10 million in new state and local tax revenue per year.
The addition of a winterized building, paired with new racing surfaces and a synthetic track will result in a facility suitable to host Thoroughbred racing on a year-round basis. When completed, the redevelopment will allow for the 110 acres of state-owned land now occupied by Aqueduct Racetrack to be redeveloped. The Aqueduct parcel was recently appraised at a value of $1 billion.