Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs

Chip Bott

Boston and Suffolk Downs Begin Planning

Development plans starting on the non-casino side of the racetrack property.

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, the owner of Suffolk Downs, and the City of Boston have reached an agreement to coordinate on a complementary non-gaming development plan for the East Boston portion of the Suffolk Downs' property should the track's casino partner, Mohegan Sun, be granted the region's gaming license.

Suffolk Downs' property sits partially in the town of Revere and part in East Boston. The agreement announced July 10 calls for the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Suffolk Downs to start planning improvements for approximately 100 acres on the Boston side. The terms of the agreement also require Suffolk Downs to continue to operate its racing facility for at least the initial 15-year term of a gaming license, should Mohegan Sun be awarded that license.

"We look forward to working with Mayor (Martin) Walsh and his team on a master plan that preserves the 79-year tradition of racing here while enhancing our property and creating additional jobs and revenue for Boston," said William Mulrow, chairman of Sterling Suffolk Racecourse. "In our conversations over the last several months, Mayor Walsh made it clear that he expects improvements on the Boston side of the property that align with the substantial investment that Mohegan Sun will make in Revere should it earn a license. We are committed to working with the city to ensure that Boston reaps additional development benefits at our property."

As part of the master plan, Suffolk Downs will look at improvements to the track's main entrance and the portion of the Suffolk Downs property that abuts the Waldemar Avenue neighborhood in East Boston, including the area near the Suffolk Downs MBTA station, track officials said.

"We are very happy to memorialize our ongoing commitment to Thoroughbred racing, our workforce and the hundreds of small businesses and family farms that depend on the Massachusetts horse racing industry in our agreement with the City of Boston," said Chip Tuttle, Suffolk Downs chief operating officer. "We look forward to working with the city to fulfill our ownership's vision here if for a more modern, major-league racing facility and customer experience."

Suffolk Downs ownership has invested over $50 million to keep the track operating since 2007. Approximately 800 people work at Suffolk Downs during the track's eight-month racing season. Thoroughbred racing, breeding, and related business in Massachusetts currently support 1,486 jobs, uses 6,650 acres of farmland, and have a total annual economic impact of $116.3 million, according to an October report authored by Christiansen Capital Advisors.

The CCA report concluded that the development of a resort casino on the Suffolk Downs' property would grow the jobs supported by the Thoroughbred industry in Massachusetts from 1,486 to 3,631. The corresponding growth in the local breeding industry in Massachusetts could result in as many as 7,825 additional acres of agricultural land in the commonwealth, a 118% increase.