According to a Wednesday report from the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, the racing-turned-gambling firm placed the historic horseracing track on the market in February after earlier revealing that it would not be applying for permission to transform the 93-year-old property into one of the state’s new racinos. The source detailed that this preceding move angered many who believed that the Kentucky-based owner had reneged on a promise in an attempt to stifle competition for its nearby Rivers Casino Des Plaines venue.
The newspaper reported that Churchill Downs Incorporated ended its bidding period for the suburban Chicago horseracing enterprise on Tuesday and was only prepared to admit that it was now pondering ‘strong proposals from numerous parties.’ The Louisville-headquartered owner purportedly later went on to pronounce that it will ‘provide an update on the sale process at the appropriate time in the coming weeks.’
However, the mayor for the one-mile oval’s host community of Arlington Heights, Thomas Hayes, purportedly declared that he had held earlier meetings with ‘less than ten’ potential bidders. When quizzed about the rumored prospect of the Chicago Bears franchise of the National Football League (NFL) buying the 326-acre site in order to build a replacement for its 61,500-seat Soldier Field stadium, the father of two purportedly proclaimed that this ‘remains a possibility because neither they nor anyone else has told me it’s not going to happen.’
Hayes reportedly stated…
“Until someone tells me that, I’m going to consider it on the table. A professional sports team would be exciting. Even if they were to come, you’d see some other redevelopment prospects as well.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that only one of the parties involved in the Arlington International Racecourse bidding process has so far made its interest public. This entity is purportedly headed by the Cook County track’s former boss, Roy Arnold, who is said to have asserted that his consortium wants to transform the ageing property into a racino ‘consistent with the intent’ of Illinois’ gambling expansion plans while keeping the ponies running well into the future.
Although he has consistently refused to disclose the financial aspects of the bid he is fronting, Arnold did reportedly divulge that he would like to bring an entertainment district and a 300-unit housing development to the site of Arlington International Racecourse in addition to 60 acres of industrial space and a mid-size arena ‘suitable to host a minor league hockey team.’
Reportedly read a statement from Arnold…
“We have the capital and the passion to make thoroughbred racing work at Arlington International Racecourse. We look forward to continuing the legacy that is Arlington.”