Arlington Heights Needs to Put the Reins on Churchill Downs


Posted on: Could 5, 2021, 02:05h. 

Final up to date on: Could 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 presumably 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.

An aerial view of Arlington Worldwide Racecourse. Churchill Downs Inc. is taking affords 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, In poor health., try to maintain horse racing a risk on the almost century-old observe. (Picture: Google Maps)

At its Monday assembly, the Arlington Heights Village Board authorized two measures. One was a decision that states the village will think about zoning modifications to the property with the intention to prohibit sure makes use of.

The opposite was an ordinance that will ban Churchill Downs from putting use restrictions on the location. That manner, the client or patrons of the property may nonetheless enable 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. Nevertheless, 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. Nevertheless, he hopes to see the custom proceed.

It’s one thing you don’t wish to simply tear down,” he stated. “It’s some of the stunning tracks actually within the nation, world-renowned.”

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

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

Public sale Underway for Arlington

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

Even earlier than then, although, many within the racing trade anticipated a sale. After Illinois racing officers lastly persuaded state lawmakers to go an expanded gaming invoice that allowed tracks to pursue on line casino gaming, Churchill Downs declined the chance 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 situated solely about 20 minutes away from Arlington.

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

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

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

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

“And as these bids are available, within the second quarter, we’ll consider them and determine subsequent steps,” he stated. “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 should see the character of the bids and if the property will get break 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 stated Churchill Downs stays committee to racing in Illinois.

Actual Property Agency Sees A number of Choices for Property

The corporate is working with business 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 dwelling 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 location embrace a residential neighborhood, an leisure venue, a company campus, a sports activities middle, or a logistics hub.

A number of board members on Monday stated the one factor they didn’t wish 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 prepared 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 client to use for a gaming license. That manner, it might have slot machines on website. That income would enhance purses and entice extra horses to race through the summer season.

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

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

After the assembly, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes instructed On line by e-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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