Churchill Downs Racetrack is moving ahead with a plan to add new parking on land it recently acquired to the west of the track.

The property was bought as part of a recent round of land acquisition that cost $13 million or more for vacant lots, houses and commercial lots surrounding the facility, some of which have been razed.

Churchill Downs Racetrack general manager Ryan Jordan told me Tuesday morning that the plan calls for 100 more parking spaces at the racetrack, which has more than 4,000 existing spaces in and around the project area. Churchill Downs filed applications for the addition with Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services on Monday.

The new parking area will have numerous landscape islands outfitted with rainwater boxes to curb stormwater runoff and about 900 new trees to beautify the space. A perimeter fence will serve as a buffer zone between the roadway and the parking lot. Interior walking paths will be added to direct pedestrian flow from the parking lot to the racetrack’s entrances, Jordan said.

The fence will be designed to secure the parking area, particularly during off-hours and when racing is not active, according to the plans.

Churchill Downs asked the city earlier this month to close a grid of alleys and small streets between Churchill Downs properties on the west side of the track to accommodate the new parking. Those streets and alleys are bordered by Central Avenue to the north and Bohannon Avenue to the west, and the request is still pending, Jordan said.

Receiving authorization from the city to close those streets and alleys and gaining approval for the development plan will shape the construction timeline, though Churchill Downs wants to get started by October or November of this year and have some of the work done in time for the 2018 Kentucky Derby. The rest of the work should be completed in time for the track’s 2018 Fall Meet and the Breeders’ Cup in November 2018, Jordan said.

Costs are being worked out as the racetrack finalizes some of the design elements.

For instance, a vehicle maneuvering area and a promenade have been proposed to move visitors between the parking area to track entrances. The full scope of the promenade is under development, but Jordan said it will be equipped with a sidewalk wrapping between Gate 1 and Gate 10 to the parking area, providing a safe walking path to the track’s main entrances.

This is the latest in a series of new capital projects for the racetrack. The track is in the midst of a $37 million, three-story addition that will add 1,800 seats in luxury suites, dining areas and a third-floor grandstand. That development will be finished in time for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

And Churchill Downs announced a plan last week to allocate $60 million for construction of a historical race wagering facility in Louisville at its former Trackside training and simulcast wagering facility on Poplar Level Road. That facility could open next year.

The 85,000-square-foot facility will offer about 600 historical racing machines, also known as instant racing, that model games off previously run horse races. It also will have dining and bar venues.

Churchill Downs Racetrack is owned by Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. (Nasdaq:CHDN), which owns numerous racetracks and casinos across the U.S.

Marty Finley covers economic development, commercial and residential real estate, government and sports business.

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