LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Metro planning officials have signed off on Churchill Downs Inc.’s $300 million plan to expand its historic racetrack at 700 Central Avenue to add a hotel, permanent seating and a historical horse racing venue with slot-like machines.
The Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment, a mayoral-appointed group of residents, recognized Churchill Downs’ “nonconforming” rights to proceed with the expansion during its meeting on Monday.
Professional planners with the city recommended that the zoning board support the project and listed no opposition from neighbors in their report to the board.
Businesses that have operating as long as Churchill Downs have legal rights not to comply with modern zoning rules, but the board still needed to sign off on the plan.
Churchill Downs executives have said their plan to transform the track’s First Turn area will be done by the end of 2021.
The seven-story hotel will feature 156 rooms, many of which will face the track and offer private balconies overlooking horse races. The hotel will also house a sports bar, VIP lounge and multiple year-round dining venues.
Another draw for the hotel: a historical racing venue similar to Derby City Gaming, Churchill Downs’ off-track gaming facility on Poplar Level Road that opened in September 2018.