By   –  Digital editor , Louisville Business First

The paddock at Churchill Downs Racetrack will be transformed as part of a $185 million to $200 million project announced Wednesday.

Churchill Downs Inc. (Nasdaq: CHDN) said the Paddock Project will debut for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby in May 2024. This project is the final phase of a previously-announced three-year capital investment plan for Churchill Downs Racetrack, according to a news release from the company.

This project will transform the existing Paddock area in a manner that will enhance the experience for nearly every guest who enters the gates of the historic racetrack, the release said. The current Paddock configuration blocks views of the Twin Spires from the entrance gate and restricts circulation from the Clubhouse to the Grandstand. The new design will enhance visibility of the Twin Spires, streamline guest circulation paths, update the audio visual experience and create additional value for guests by updating existing ticket products and amenities.

The new design includes 12,000 square feet of guest space compared to the existing 5,000 square feet, increasing the capacity inside the Paddock from 1,000 to 2,400 people, the release said. Premium club seating options will include dining tables, rail boxes, custom chef’s tables, cocktail service, reserved racetrack viewing areas and access to private amenities along with unprecedented Paddock views.

The Paddock redevelopment investment will follow the $44.5 million Homestretch Club project, which is scheduled to debut this year during Kentucky Derby Week; and the $89.2 million Turn 1 Experience that will open for the Kentucky Derby in 2023. Construction on the Paddock Project will begin after the 2022 Churchill Downs Spring Meet and is scheduled to accommodate the Racetrack’s live race dates with minimal disruption, the release said.

“This is one of the most significant construction projects in the history of Churchill Downs Racetrack because it significantly impacts what we consider to be the heart of the property,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI, in the release. “We took great care to ensure this is designed in a way that would transform Churchill Downs while enhancing our ability to deliver on what our fans hope for and expect from us for generations to come.”

In addition to the racetrack, Churchill Downs Inc. owns and operates three gaming entertainment venues with approximately 3,050 historical racing machines in Kentucky. It also owns and operates TwinSpires, one of the largest and most profitable online wagering platforms for horse racing in the U.S. and has nine retail sportsbooks. It offers brick-and-mortar casino gaming in eight states with approximately 11,000 slot machines and video lottery terminals and 200 table games. It’s one of Louisville’s largest public companies.