Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, has invested over $150 million in renovations at the historic track over the last decade. These renovations include the recent $9 million sixth-floor Mansion, the Paddock Plaza, the new media center/simulcast wagering venue known as the Parlay, the $122.4 million renovation of the Clubhouse and Grandstand in 2005, and the permanent outdoor track lighting completed in 2010. In the latest multi-million-dollar project, Churchill Downs has announced plans for its $14.5 million Grandstand Terrace Project.
The Grandstand Terrace Project will create nearly 2,400 new seats in the grandstand areas on the second and third floors in a 51,000 square foot area of new space. In addition to new seating, the project includes renovation of existing bathrooms, wagering locations, and concessions, plus the addition of nine new bathrooms. The renovation also includes a VIP section known as the Rooftop Garden.
The Grandstand Terrace will be located behind and next to the track’s current grandstand that overlooks the top of the stretch. This area of the track is most frequently used for the running of the Kentucky Derby, or any other 1 ¼ mile race. The new seating will no doubt give Kentucky Derby patrons a memorable experience as a 20-horse field gallops past below.
“The Grandstand Terrace and Rooftop Garden offer a rare opportunity to create new seating for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, but it’s even more exciting because the new and updated amenities will significantly improve the experience for a large percentage of fans that join us in the Grandstand for this great sports and entertainment spectacle,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “The new and renovated concessions, restrooms and wagering locations will be conveniently accessible for all of our Grandstand patrons. The result will be improved service and a more enjoyable experience during the premier weekend in American racing.
“We surveyed our Grandstand patrons during the 2013 Kentucky Derby and Oaks and the improvement and expansion of concessions, wagering and restroom facilities were at the top of their list of recommendations. Along with enhancing our Kentucky Derby and Oaks experience, we believe the unique Grandstand Terrace and Rooftop Garden will be popular venues for family celebrations and other social gatherings and present another entertainment option at our historic track.”
In keeping with the history of the racetrack, a portion of the existing Grandstand to be razed will be preserved and used in the Grandstand Terrace. A section of the Grandstand rooftop that once served as the paddock roof 100 years ago will be elevated and used in the Terrace to cover a 5,500 square foot space on the second-floor.
Artist renderings of the proposed renovations provide an aerial view and a view from Central Avenue.
To make way for the new Grandstand Terrace, demolition of the existing Grandstand will begin Thursday, August 1. The Project is expected to be completed in time for next year’s Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby 140, May 2nd and 3rd.
Photos: Courtesy Churchill Downs