Churchill Working on Master Plan for Track

Churchill Downs announced Friday it has selected Louisville, Ky.-based Luckett & Farley to develop a master plan for renovation and improvement of the track's facilities and land.

Luckett & Farley and the Atlanta, Ga.-based design firm of Rosser International Inc. will work to develop a master plan for for the track.According to Churchill's announcement, the master plan will include a detailed market analysis and research into a full range of racetrack amenities, including the feasibility of the construction of private suites and a comprehensive study of current track seating, concessions, parking and media facilities. The master plan will focus on cost-effective ways to improve those and other areas of the track's operation, the track said.

“We will be studying the entire racetrack facility with one goal in mind--to make Churchill Downs as fun and entertaining as possible,” said Alex Waldrop, president of Churchill Downs. “To reach our goal we will look beyond a mere facelift for our track's high traffic areas. We want to provide more and better restaurant and kitchen facilities, additional convenient parking, improved entry gates and elevator service, state-of-the-art wagering technology, improved audio and video delivery, and new VIP suites.”

While specifics of the project are undetermined, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported the improvements could lead to the first parking garage and electronic betting devices in box seats. The paper said the five-year project is expected to cost at least $15-million and will begin next year. The Courier-Journal also reported one way the track is considering maximizing seating revenue is to downsize or relocate the press box. There is also a possibility that Churchill will require fans to purchase a license to give them the right to buy Kentucky Derby and Oaks boxes.