Maryland Stadium Authority: $424 million to demolish, rebuild Pimlico
Pimlico. Photo by The Racing Biz.
by Frank Vespe
The second phase of the Maryland Stadium Authority study on the future of Pimlico is set to be released Thursday.
And, according to a pre-release media release, the new Old Hilltop won’t come cheap.
The study calls for a complete teardown and rebuild of the existing facility. That would come, the Authority estimates, with a price tag of $424 million.
A call to the Maryland Stadium Authority was not immediately returned.
That price is significantly higher than the amount the first phase estimated for a track renovation. In that first phase, completed in February 2017, the Authority estimated a new Pimlico would cost between $250 and $322 million.
The first phase of the study envisioned the project as essentially a major renovation — but not a teardown. It called for retaining the existing old grandstand, down near the far turn, and renovating it. It also envisioned most structures being “reduced to their load-bearing structures and fully rebuilt including a new exterior envelope, new mechanical and electrical systems and new interior partitions, finishes, furniture, fixtures and equipment.”
The second phase of the study goes a step farther. Perhaps several steps farther.
In fact, it recommends “demolition and removal of all existing structures on the site, including the tracks, infield, grandstand, clubhouse, equestrian barns and associated infrastructure,” according to the release.
The tracks would be rebuilt, the existing one-mile dirt surface shortened to 15/16ths of a mile. The new turf course would remain at its current distance of seven furlongs.
The Stadium Authority study calls for the construction of a four-story, multi-use clubhouse, which would carry a price tag of $252.2 million. The clubhouse would include “clubs/lounges, suites, rooftop and balcony spaces, dining, space for retail, off-track betting, and/or a museum, ticketing, administrative offices, kitchens,” and various other necessary infrastructure. It would include 44 percent of the proposed 30,400 premium seating options at a facility which is expected to have a total capacity of 75,000 for the Preakness.
Infrastructure improvements would cost an additional $120.5 million, while work on the infield and track would total nearly $30 million. Demolition would add another $20 million-plus, bringing the grand total to over $420 million.
The goal of the overall project is both to make Pimlico a viable home for Maryland’s signature race, the mid-May Preakness Stakes, the second jewel in racing’s Triple Crown, and to turn what is largely economically unproductive land most of the year into an engine of economic activity that can benefit the neighborhood year-round.
To that end, the study calls for a variety of other uses to take place on the track’s current 125-acre footprint. Those could include a hotel, homes, business, stores, and a senior living facility.
While Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh told the Baltimore Sun that the study provides a “path forward for the Preakness in Baltimore,” the thorny questions of who pays, and how, now take center stage. The Stronach Group, parent company of the Maryland Jockey Club, which owns Pimlico, has repeatedly said it will not foot the bill for the new Old Hilltop, and it is unclear whether, and to what extent, it would participate at all.
In a release, the Stadium Authority said, “A logical next step in the planning process is for key stakeholders including MJC/TSG, the State and the City to agree to execute a formal agreement to enter into future negotiations.”
This will not Work ! This is a mistake and everybody knows it …our Leaders on this issue know it as well They do !
It’s like the “Dirty little secret in MD” #MoneyPit
They have kicked the Can down the road since when ??…the late 70’s?
That is nearly 50 years ago
The project at any level is not economically viable and cannot sustain itself in its own #Period
Without sustainability it’s not viable
The price tag for this will nearly double ( They always Do w/Govt Involved) and it will be no different here . My Prediction is it will in the end cost nearly a $billion for 14 days of racing at the location
Even a non Racing Fan knows that makes no sense !!
Everyone of these leaders ..Hogan..Pugh..MD Stadium Authority ..FSG ( Frank & Belinda ) (Not Speaking) Ritvo …Sal Sinatra… MTHA … Everyone knows it cannot work !
Being a sport guy…Reminds me of Mike Singletary
Won’t Do it! Can’t do it! Can’t win with them ..Won’t win with them this way !! Not going to do it !!
I want Winners !
This proposal is not a winner!
In fact it is a tremendous loser and our leaders are trying not to be left “ Holding the Hot Potato” and looking like fools
They cannot “ Kick it” down the road anymore and they don’t want the problem associated with them or their watch
The taxpayers will be left to pay for the project and in a relatively small amount of time will have a “White Elephant” on their hands …and a huge drain on the State Budget
I got a better idea…
Sell the Pimlico property to the hospital complex at the Highest &Best offer and take the whole thing off the MD State Books
Then if these same leaders want to enhance MD racing and to continue on the same cooperative path we’ve been on as per the 10 yr agreement …
Take that $500M and enhance Laurel Park with Suites..More Barms..The Bowie training Center ..Better Backstretch..Infrastructure..Hotels …Train/Subway…and let’s Make a 21st presentation
A true 2nd Jewel of the Triple Crown…,
By doing so…
It will stand on its own
Their will be return on capital investment
Our leaders look smart
We create development in the Vision of GulfStream Light (Md-Style)
We get.a tru shot at the Breeders cup and a regular spot on the Rotation .. we would now have the facilities to do so
Heck..Maybe The Pegasus begins a Rotation Of sights and we can accommodate that Great race…
Did I mention the International is also coming back and this would give us “Gravitas” with our Euro Chaps!
We incredibly enhance MD racing’s presence Nationwide ….not to mention the obvious growth in Handle … and a destination Stop between B&W
We prep for and become a sports book destination over the next yr or so as well as part of the plan outlined
It all adds up!!! #Success
My idea on how to Make ….
Maryland Racing Great Again !
Sheffield Stable LLC