Hollywood Park Racetrack (1938, 1952) doomed?

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Hollywood Park Racetrack (1938, 1952) doomed?

Postby nichols » Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:09 pm

From the LA Business Journal

Posted date: 4/25/2005


The Last Days of Hollywood Park


Special Report: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY
The legendary racetrack, built in 1938 by studio head Jack Warner, is likely to be sold as attendance sags and the land attracts interest from developers


By ANDY FIXMER
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff


With attendance at Hollywood Park in decline, its owner may sell the land for development.
Hundreds of Hollywood Park employees were scrambling to get the Inglewood track ready for the start of its racing season – a calendar that was to kick off with a concert by funk diva Chaka Khan, a $1 million Pick Six jackpot and races worth $1.3 million in prize money.

But there was uncertainty and a bit of sadness surrounding the last-minute preparations because 67 years of horse racing at the storied facility could be drawing to a close.

Inglewood officials say they have been told by executives at Churchill Downs Inc., the track’s Louisville, Ky.-based owner, that the nearly 240-acre parcel, worth more than $200 million, may be sold to a developer. Real estate sources said the company has hired New York investment bank Lazard Frères & Co.

“They have made a decision that the land is too expensive to maintain a racetrack,â€￾ said Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt F. Dorn. “They are either going to sell it or develop it, but it hasn’t been determined what they will do. They have put out some feelers and gotten some bids on it.â€￾

Inglewood City Councilman Ralph Franklin, whose 4th District includes Hollywood Park, said he believed Churchill Downs is in the advanced stages of selling the park.

“I have been advised they are going through the interview process with developers with the ability to purchase the 240 acres,â€￾ Franklin said.

In L.A.’s real estate world, monster properties on the order of Hollywood Park don’t come along every day, which is why the sale and development of the property is likely to be a lengthy, costly and litigious process. A major complication to any multi-use development could be the Hollywood Park Casino, which is operated by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. and would not be included in a Churchill Downs sale.

And yet, early interest in the site reflects how thirsty developers are for land in urban Los Angeles. Of special note is the parcel’s proximity to LAX.

“It’s a big piece of ground that just about anyone would want to get their hands on,â€￾ said Los Angeles developer Jerry Snyder, who at the moment is not trying to buy Hollywood Park. “Obviously, a residential project there would be a no-brainer, but retail and office would also probably work.â€￾

Determining priorities
During a March 17 conference call, Churchill Downs President and Chief Executive Tom Meeker said an evaluation of the site would be completed in a few months, “and at that time we’ll be in a much better situation to comment on any specific plans.â€￾

Franklin said Churchill Downs executives told him they have already interviewed four interested developers and that talks are planned with several more.

After the interviews are complete, according to Franklin, Churchill Downs will winnow the list to two or three potential buyers with a proven ability to buy the land and complete complex development projects.

Those finalists will then be interviewed by a panel of residents, elected officials and the city’s redevelopment agency to determine which developer’s project comes closest to what residents want.
“Once they find the potential developer who can buy the site, they’ll bring them before the city,â€￾ Franklin said. The panel, he said, will screen those candidates and pass along the best ideas, which would then be discussed at several town hall meetings and debated before the Planning Commission and City Council. “Everyone will have their chance to be heard.â€￾

And most everything is likely to be up for discussion. Dorn said the city would like to have a convention center, plus an adjacent four- or five-star hotel. City officials would also like a large retail development with high-end shops and restaurants, office buildings and housing – both market-rate and affordable homes. “The racetrack has been good for the city, but we are realistic,â€￾ Dorn said. “Whatever occurs there will be better for the city.â€￾

Franklin, for one, believes that Inglewood could collect more tax revenue from hotel rooms, retail sales and property taxes than the $2.1 million it takes in annually from gambling, ticket sales and concessions.

“This is a goldmine of opportunity,â€￾ he said. “We could finally get the much deserved and needed development that would generate the kind of revenue this city so badly needs.â€￾

Rumors have long circulated about the demise of Hollywood Park. For decades, attendance has been slumping and the track – once a dominant presence in Southern California horse racing – has fallen behind Santa Anita and Del Mar.

It certainly didn’t start out that way. From the moment it opened in 1938, Hollywood Park was a glamorous playground for the movie industry’s rich and famous. The grounds, former bean fields, were purchased by 600 investors led by Warner Bros. Chief Jack L. Warner. Notable partners in the Hollywood Turf Club included Walt Disney, Samuel Goldwyn and Bing Crosby.

But while the 1940s and 1950s were glory years, the immaculately landscaped track has been struggling with declining attendance for the past two decades.

Surrounding development
By the late 1980s, Hollywood Park intensified its focus on the gaming aspect of the sport by opening a card club-casino on its grounds.

With horse racing on the decline, the company went public and began to focus on buying casinos and card clubs across the country. Then in 1999,

Hollywood Park Inc. sold its namesake track to Churchill Downs for $140 million. As part of the deal, Hollywood Park – later renamed Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. – kept 138 acres of land surrounding the track and entered into a 10-year lease to operate the casino for $3 million a year.

Since then, Pinnacle has sold off the parcels to developers who are transforming the surrounding Inglewood community.

Homebuilder Ray Watt, chairman of John Laing Homes, has developed a 375-home subdivision on 37 acres purchased from Pinnacle on the northern border of the racetrack on 90th Street between Prairie Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard. Those homes, in a gated community being built by several developers including John Laing, are being priced between $300,000 and $500,000.

Pinnacle has also sold 60 acres of former racetrack property to Santa Monica-based Rothbart Development Corp. for $36 million. Rothbart is working with the city on entitlements for a shopping center that would include a Wal-Mart anchor store

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was rebuffed last year by Inglewood voters when the company tried to bypass a hostile city council with plans for a Supercenter – a larger Wal-Mart with an attached supermarket – with a referendum.

Imperial Partners LLC plans a large development that could contain a 140,000-square-foot medical office building and surgical center. On adjacent land the company has also tentatively proposed a 300-room hotel, 10-story parking garage and 120,000-square-foot shopping mall. Combined, Imperial has said its projects could total $100 million.

Convenient location
Hollywood Park President Rick Baedeker said that because of all the nearby activity, redeveloping the site makes sense. “Let’s face it, you’re four miles from the ocean and you’re a 15-minute drive from LAX,â€￾ Baedeker said. “You couldn’t ask for much better real estate.â€￾

Still, he hinted that Churchill Downs could choose to participate in a redevelopment effort by including a racetrack on much smaller grounds with less seating. Two years ago, Churchill Downs was rebuffed by Irvine residents and elected officials when it proposed building a smaller Hollywood Park as part of the redevelopment of the former El Toro marine base.

“The record crowd here is about 80,000 but those days are long gone,â€￾ he said. “It’s tough to justify having such a large facility when the bottom line is being squeezed. We need to provide a more intimate and busier environment because when the crowd is spread out this big building feels like there’s nobody here.â€￾

Any redevelopment may have to include a casino. Pinnacle Entertainment President Wade W. Hundley told analysts and investors in a conference call last May that nothing would happen to the casino if Churchill Downs sold the track.

Hundley said that the lease has provisions for increased rents in 2010, but that there are also clauses allowing the company to extend its lease. “The Hollywood Park Card Club is in a building that is leased from Churchill Downs and I believe has another 16 or 17 years to go under that lease,â€￾ he said....
Last edited by nichols on Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby nichols » Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:17 pm

Last edited by nichols on Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Well if it's demise is in the future

Postby modfan » Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:05 pm

I hope Inglewood isn't stupid enough to zone residential too close to Century Bl.-LAX flight path goes right over the racetrack. I wonder if they can do that type of deal that Fess Parker did in Santa Ynez for the Casino-a partnership with a tribe so that there might be casino banked table games and slots-and have Inglewood work out a VERY favorable deal for them and not relinquish to much control to an indian tribe.

Wasn't there also threats of Santa Anita closing down as well?
Parts of that are sold off for retail and more will be added....

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Postby nichols » Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:05 am

A portion of the Santa Anita lot was sold off in the 1970s for an indoor shopping mall, which was recently remodeled. Another portion has been sold off (or I believe is in a 99 year lease) to Rick "The Grove" Caruso for another of his famous outdoor 'main street' style shoppertainment extravaganzas. They say this one is "New Orleans" style. The racetrack proposed a retail arcade in front of the historic facade about 5 years ago and the Conservancy fought hard against it. That plan was dropped. The track keeps improving and seems to be doing OK. I have heard no plans or rumors to close. Go bet on some horses and keep it going. The FRONTRUNNER restaurant is also quite good.

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Postby Nathan » Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:07 pm

Amaaaaaazing photos. Is that me in front of the Club House?

Couldn't resist making some snide comments about HP in today's episode of
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I drove by that area

Postby modfan » Sun May 01, 2005 8:36 am


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Postby nichols » Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:09 pm


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Postby Futura Girl » Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:56 pm

modfan - i think your indian parnetship idea is a grand one.
have you written a letter to the owners?

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Postby Velas » Tue Jul 11, 2006 10:30 pm

They have really good roast beef sandwiches at Santa Anita
ww.panoramaonview.org

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Postby nichols » Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:46 am

LOS ANGELES TIMES

L.A. THEN AND NOW
Hollywood Park's racing days could be numbered
With its heyday long past, the horse racing track in Inglewood might close amid dwindling crowds.
By Ari B. Bloomekatz
December 7, 2008
About 10 minutes before post time at the Hollywood Park racetrack this month, Paul Bélanger recalled how he first fell for horse racing about 30 years ago.

Fascinated by the "numbers puzzle," he would sort through each horse's performance statistics, pick his favorites and place his bets.

"Unfortunately, I won a lot of money the first time I went to the track," Bélanger joked. "The first time you pick a 10-to-1 shot, you're never going" to forget that feeling, he said.

Decades later, the grandstands at Hollywood Park in Inglewood are seldom packed and there's always ample parking. But Bélanger is among the few thousand who still enjoy a day at the races, even though the landmark track is in its waning days...

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me ... 3982.story

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Postby nichols » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:26 am

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"The 238-acre site at the corner of Century Boulevard and Prairie Avenue will soon transform Hollywood Park Racetrack and Casino into a new modern community...."
http://www.hollywoodparktomorrow.com/

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Postby nichols » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:27 am

A 5'x5' table-top model of new mega retail, dining, and entertainment project will be on display this weekend (March 14-15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m) at the Planning Center at Hollywood Park (located at the race track near Century Blvd. and Prairie Ave).

(Curbed)
http://la.curbed.com/archives/2009/03/c ... r_comments

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I guess if

Postby modfan » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:16 pm

You like planes it's a nice place to live. But then again that's not me.
Kinda think it's stupid to put residential so close to the airport, then again it's not the first incident of stupid land use planning.

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Postby nichols » Fri May 15, 2009 11:28 am

DAILY BREEZE

Planners approve mixed-use development for Hollywood Park site

From staff reports
Posted: 05/14/2009 05:03:47 PM PDT

The Inglewood Planning Commission has approved plans for a 238-acre mixed-use development featuring retail stores, theaters, parks and homes on the current site of Hollywood Park Racetrack. The massive project, dubbed Hollywood Park Tomorrow, was approved unanimously and now moves to the City Council for a final vote on May 28...

http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_12371242

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Postby nichols » Fri May 15, 2009 11:39 am


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Postby nichols » Fri May 15, 2009 12:14 pm

FINAL EIR

"As none of the buildings on the Project Site are classified as a historic resource pursuant to CEQA or under the National Register of Historic Places or the California Register of Historical Places, the Project will have a less than significnat impact on historic resources."
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Postby HappyBunny » Sat May 16, 2009 6:51 pm

And then people will move into these places and crab and moan about airplane noise. DUH! You live under the flight path of one of the nation's busiest airports. We have this issue in Long Beach and it is strangling any further development of the airport that would benefit the rest of the city. The rights of 25 families superscede the rights of thousands of others.

Developers see the $$, take them and run and leave the rest of us to deal with the problems.

Perhaps though, in this economy, it wont be built.

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Postby nichols » Sun May 17, 2009 8:33 am

Hollywood Park closes July 19

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Postby nichols » Fri May 29, 2009 8:06 am

LOS ANGELES TIMES

REAL ESTATE
Hollywood Park racetrack faces bleak odds of survival

The proposed $2-billion Hollywood Park Tomorrow project calls for a new neighborhood in Inglewood with parks, office buildings, a hotel, a lake, a waterfall and possibly a school. Its owner plans to redevelop the 238-acre property in Inglewood into a retail and residential complex in about a year if the City Council approves the project.

By Roger Vincent and Ari Bloomekatz
May 28, 2009

A proposed $2-billion real estate development that would replace the historic Hollywood Park racetrack and change the face of Inglewood may get the go-ahead tonight from the City Council.

The track's owner, Bay Area developer Wilson Meany Sullivan, plans to start work on a massive retail and residential complex in about a year if the council approves the project. The development would also bring some rare green space to Inglewood: Plans call for parks, a lake and even a waterfall in the dense urban community.

But development would end racing at Hollywood Park, where thoroughbreds have churned the turf since 1938...

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-h ... 7660.story

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Postby nichols » Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:47 pm

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today, and (below) 50 years ago...
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Millard Sheets? Millard Sheets is not significant?!
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Postby nichols » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:08 am

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Inglewood council OKs Hollywood Park development

Associated Press
Posted: 07/09/2009 07:28:59 AM PDT

INGLEWOOD - The Inglewood City Council has approved a $2 billion development that would put an end to horse racing at the Hollywood Park racetrack...

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_12789647

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Hollywood Park Conversion Approved LA Business Journal

Postby Steve Tepperman » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:25 am

Hollywood Park Conversion Approved
By DAVID HALDANE - 7/9/2009
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff

The Inglewood City Council has approved Hollywood Park Tomorrow, a controversial $2.1 billion mixed-use development at the site of the iconic horse racing track.

The 238-acre development, which has been opposed by some residents and horse racing enthusiasts, will feature retail stores, theaters, 25-acres of parks and, ultimately, homes. Construction could begin as early as next year, first on streets, sewer lines and sidewalks. The park’s 120,000-square-foot card club will be spared and renovated.

“We are thrilled,” said Chris Meany, a partner at Wilson Meany Sullivan, which is handling the development for track owner Stockbridge Real Estate Funds of San Francisco. “This marks the end of a tremendous public review process that has brought our plans in line with the community’s priorities.”

Despite the recession, Meany said that the company has enough capital on hand to begin construction. It is betting that the economy and housing market will have recovered by the time major portions of the project are ready to open. Eventually, the developers want to build nearly 3,000 new dwellings – mostly condominiums and townhomes – that would go on sale in three to four years.

The plan now enters a 12- to 18-month “pre-construction process” during which detailed drawings will be prepared and a variety of permit applications processed.

The developers announced last year that Hollywood Park would close by Aug. 1, but a Wilson Meany Sullivan spokesman said Thursday that the horseracing will continue until construction starts in late 2010 or early 2011. The developers also promised to give the city six months notice before closing down the racing.

Residents had opposed the project, with its 620,000 square feet of retail, saying it was too large for the area. However, the City Council voted 4 to 0 with one abstention to move forward with the project, one of the city first new large developments in decades.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Los Angeles Business Journal, Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved

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Postby nichols » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:35 pm

I understand this 1938 structure and a horse statue are to be salvaged and incorporated into the new project.
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but other than that it's a total loss.

Then there are these folks...

http://www.savehollywoodpark.info/
http://savehollywoodpark.com/


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