LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 7, 2012) — Churchill Downs, the home for 138 years of the world famous Kentucky Derby, has announced $9 million in renovations and recently unveiled design plans and details for The Mansion at Churchill Downs.
The Mansion, which will be located on the 6th floor of the Clubhouse in an area that has largely served as the track’s media center since 2005, will be open for the 2013 renewals of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. It is the largest of four projects that will be under way at the track in the coming months. Accompanying projects include a new Media Center to serve print, digital and broadcast journalists and the photographers and
videographers who cover the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and other on-track events; the razing of the Paddock Pavilion to create an open gathering space for patrons of the Derby, Oaks, “Downs After Dark” racing and business and social events throughout the year; and the relocation and expansion of the track’s Gold Room, which serves VIP members of its Twin Spires Club’s TSC Elite wagering rewards program.
The Media Center and the new gathering space adjacent to the Paddock are scheduled to be completed prior to Churchill Downs’ Oct. 28-Nov. 25 Fall Meet, and the expanded Gold Room is set to open in August.
The Mansion at Churchill Downs will be completed prior to the 2013 Spring Meet and its 139th runnings of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby scheduled, respectively, for Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4.
The $9 million in spending on the four projects brings total investment over the past decade in facilities by Churchill Downs, one of the world’s most recognized sports venues that also ranks among Kentucky’s oldest businesses, to more than $150 million. The investment total also includes the sweeping renovation of the track’s Clubhouse and Grandstand, which was completed in 2005 with a final price tag of $122.4 million, and the purchase and installation of a permanent lighting system for the main track and turf course, a $4 million project completed in 2010.
The Mansion, with seating and exclusive entertainment opportunities for more than 320 guests, will offer grand settings in its Dining Room, Living Room, Library, Parlor and Veranda, along with more intimate gathering spaces in its foyer and bar. Guests will have access to a private wine cellar, and personal concierge service.
The Mansion will be an invitation-only venue for both the Derby and Oaks.
The new Media Center will be located near Churchill Downs’ Gate 1 entrance and Paddock in a building that has housed the track’s General Offices. Its first floor will be transformed into an open facility outfitted with media work stations, multiple large-screen televisions, enhanced Wi-Fi and other technology for digital coverage of major races and events, and food service and bar facilities.
The new Gold Room for Churchill Downs VIP players is located on the second floor of the Clubhouse in a space that had previously been utilized as the Champions Lounge. Previously located on the sixth floor of the Clubhouse, the new Gold Room is a larger facility with additional seating. It has been outfitted with new large-screen televisions, food and bar service and a vantage point for the viewing of pre-race activity in the Paddock during the track’s Spring and Fall Meet. The new Gold Room will open in early August.