By Caitlin Bowling |

The bar will sit atop the Starting Gate Suites. | Courtesy of Churchill Downs/Populous

Churchill Downs Inc. continues its investment into improvements at the historic racetrack.

The company announced Friday that it will spend $5 million to construct and build a gigantic 20,000-square-foot rooftop lounge and garden. The new area will sit atop Starting Gate Suites, which includes 32 luxury suites and were part of $69 million worth of capital projects Churchill Downs is completing this year.

Construction of the rooftop lounge will begin after Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 2-3 and will be completed sometime before the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby in 2019. Populous is the architect, and Calhoun Construction will serve as the project manager, according to a news release.

“Rooftop bars are a hot trend in the hospitality industry, and the addition of this sensational new space atop our Starting Gate Suites will be a great benefit to our facility and deliver another unique guest experience at Churchill Downs,” Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack, said in the release.

The bar will be quite large at 20,000 square foot. | Courtesy of Churchill Downs/Populous

The bar will be able to hold more than 500 ticketed guests, which will be split among reserved covered seating and standing-room-only access. The release did not say how much tickets for the rooftop lounge could go for but noted that online ticket sales will begin later this year.

Derby-goers and those attending races throughout the year will have the opportunity to access the lounge and garden’s upscale bars, various food options and panoramic view in “cozy yet party-like atmosphere,” the release notes. The bar will include a tiered balcony for optimal viewing.

Churchill Downs is not the only place that the company is investing, though. It recently debuted Derby City Gaming, a $60 million facility with 900 historical racing machines at 4520 Poplar Level Road. Churchill Downs Inc. also is looking to bring harness racing to that site.