The Atlantic City Race Course is a facility over 70 years old that has offered racing entertainment for decades. The property was purchased by Greenwood Racing Inc. almost 20 years ago and has been shutdown for four years. Steps are now being taken to make changes to the track, getting in back in operation to offer Atlantic City residents and visitors more entertainment options.
At the beginning of October, the local Township Committee approved a memorandum of understanding with the race course operator. This was done so that both could work together to create a plan for redevelopment. Greenwood will be placing around $20k into escrow and the money used for redevelopment of the property.
The planning consultant of the township along with the redevelopment attorney will be working on the plan for the property. The township will pay their fee but money from the escrow account will be used to repay the township for the hours spent creating the plan.
There will be a six month time frame in which the project ill be worked on. More time can be provided if the township and Greenwood are in agreement for an extension. Up for consideration is having gaming at the site as well as hotel accommodations. Many township officials are happy with the idea. In the 115 square mile township, there is no lodging options. The hotel would benefit a local need as well as one for travelers.
Senator Chris Brown commented on how happy he is that the township and Greenwood are working together to do something with the 250-acre parcel of land. Brown stated: “All along, I’ve felt this site presented a great opportunity for new growth in our county, which is why I appreciate the township and Greenwood ARC working together to find the best way to revitalize the race track and further diversify our economy while creating new jobs for our middle class families.”
Past Development Attempts
The Township Committee has heard several ideas for development of the race track over the past few years, but nothing ever came of the ideas. Going back as far as 2004, the Township decided to not approve a rezoning effort of the property to allow a town-center style complex to be created.
One year later, a representative from Cabela’s talked with officials, showing interest in buying the land. However, a few months later, such discussions stopped. Fast forward to 2014, and an open air market began, but lasted only a month.
It seems nothing has taken hold with the property, be it a sale for a new operation or simply using the property for short term needs.
In the past, the idea of sports betting has been thrown out for the property. Once sports betting was up and running in New Jersey, the idea was mentioned by Senator Brown when he was an Assembly member. According to Brown at the time, the ability to allow sports betting at the facility would provide a financial opportunity that could be used by the owners to fix up the property or even sell it.
It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks what the Township and Greenwood decides to do with the property. Will it open up again, offering some form of gaming and possibly a hotel? If so, it would certainly add to the already booming gaming industry of the state. We will stay on top of any developments and report on them as they are made known.