Churchill Downs Plans "Southern-Style Mansion" As Part Of $9M Renovation
Churchill Downs Inc. yesterday formally announced the creation of “The Mansion at Churchill Downs” which will “be carved from the current press box and an adjacent room once set aside for big bettors,” according to Gregory Hall of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. The Mansion is part of a $9M renovation and “will offer the best view of the track." But it "may not be used much beyond Oaks and Derby days -- when 320 invitation-only customers will pay thousands to get in and enjoy the comforts of home.” Track President and CDI Senior VP Kevin Flanery said that packages “will begin in the thousands of dollars for Oaks and Derby.” A track spokesperson said that pricing is “still being finalized for other days.” Though use of The Mansion outside of Derby week “will be limited, Flanery said it could be available for an occasional wedding or other event.” The move “furthers the Louisville-based gambling and racing company’s efforts to maximize profits from its signature events.” Flanery said, “It is an experience a notch above anything else that’s ever been offered at Churchill Downs.” The project also includes “demolition of the Paddock Pavilion, now used as an auxiliary press center.” Flanery said that replacing the pavilion will be a 30,000-square-foot “open area, easing the sometimes tight crowds by the paddock and creating new food and beverage stations, lounge seating and picnic areas.” A new media center will be built “on the first floor in an area once used for offices” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/1).
SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY: The DAILY RACING FORM’s Marty McGee wrote project “will attempt to mimic a lavish southern-style mansion replete with amenities such as a dining room with a gourmet chef, a library, a private bar, and a private elevator, not to mention a balcony that affords a spectacular finish-line view of the racetrack.” Flanery added that the facility will seat “at least 320 people, with ‘customized’ seating costs that would vary by a number of factors that he declined to specify” (DRF.com, 7/31). The THOROUGHBRED TIMES’ Frank Angst noted guests at The Mansion “will have access to a private wine cellar, as well as a personal concierge service.” Churchill Downs is “contacting potential patrons of [the track] with details of the amenities and personalized service” (THOROUGHBREDTIMES.com, 7/31).