Churchill Downs cancels hotel construction plan

The race track’s CEO said in an earning call that consumer travel and hotel trends were the deciding factor in ending the project.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs will not be going forward with an expansion plan to build a hotel and gaming center onto the historic track. 

The expansion plan included a $300 million investment project to construct a hotel, historical racing machine facility and permanent stadium seating at the first turn.

The announcement was made by company CEO Bill Carstanjen during an earnings call. Carstanjen said the company looked at consumer travel and hotel trends ultimately determining not to move forward with the project. 

“Based on this analysis — we have decided not to build a hotel on the first turn of the Churchill Downs race track at this time,” Carstanjen said. “We may decide to build a hotel at the racetrack in the future, but no is not the right time.”

Almost a year ago, the race track halted expansion efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Churchill Downs said the project would not resume until Derby 2021 but now the plans have stopped completely. 

The company now plans to shift focus to new amenitites at the track and Derby City Gaming. 

The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is set to take place May 2 following a running in September. The Derby is expected to have approximately 25 to 30% of Infield capacity for the running.

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