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Churchill Downs announces historical racing machine expansion

30 Sep 2021

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Churchill Downs Incorporated announced today plans to open a new historical racing machine entertainment venue, Derby City Gaming Downtown, in Louisville, Kentucky. The 43,000-square-foot entertainment venue will be located at 140 South 4th Street, at the corner of South 4th and West Market, diagonal to the Kentucky International Convention Center.

The investment in the new entertainment venue will create 450 jobs for the local economy, including 350 construction jobs and more than 100 new permanent jobs. The Company will collaborate with OneWest and other community organizations in an intentional effort to provide job opportunities at the entertainment venue to individuals residing in Louisville’s most under-resourced neighborhoods as well as provide training and additional social support services that focus on retention, workforce development and professional advancement. CDI will increase its efforts to identify and contract with Women-and Minority-Owned Businesses for supply chain and contracting needs.Derby City Gaming Downtown will initially include 500 HRMs, a fresh-air gaming area and over 200 onsite parking spaces. The new entertainment venue will provide guests — including locals, tourists and convention attendees — three unique bar concepts: a main-level sports bar with a stage for music and live entertainment, a premium bourbon library and an elegant wine and charcuterie lounge. A retail and merchandise store will be located on the street level where guests can shop for Kentucky Derby-themed merchandise. Construction on Derby City Gaming Downtown will begin later this year with an anticipated opening date in early 2023.

CDI also announced a pledge of $1 million to the West End Opportunity Partnership (the “Partnership”), a collaborative community-led initiative that will finance projects to kick start economic development and quality of life improvements in a district comprised of nine West End neighborhoods: Shawnee, Portland, Russell, Chickasaw, Parkland, California, Park Hill, Park Duvalle and Algonquin. The new tax increment financing (“TIF”) district was established by legislation championed and passed by State Senators Robert Stivers, Julie Raque Adams, Morgan McGarvey and Gerald Neal, and State Representatives Ken Fleming and Pamela Stevenson. The TIF guarantees that for the next 20 years, 80% of new tax revenue generated in those neighborhoods will be returned to the Partnership to reinvest in economic development projects and homeowner stabilization in the West End. The seed money and proceeds will be managed by a Partnership board comprised of neighborhood residents and appointees from community organizations.

“CDI is committed to investing in the city of Louisville and today we are particularly excited to announce this new downtown entertainment venue," said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “Our HRM expansion will be a win for the entire community in the Louisville area and will create $10 to $12 million per year in additional purse money for Churchill Downs Racetrack. It is important that Louisville is a city that is thriving — a great place to live, work and visit and we are committed to helping create economic vibrancy for every area of our community. The West End Opportunity Partnership and our collaboration with OneWest can help us responsibly and sustainably achieve that vision.”

“We applaud Churchill Downs for their continued investment in Louisville’s hospitality infrastructure. Having a downtown touchpoint with one of our most iconic brand pillars is a boon to helping us successfully market our destination,” said Cleo Battle, Louisville Tourism President & CEO. “The attraction will fulfill a need for much-requested evening options for convention delegates and give locals and visitors alike another authentic experience to enjoy in the heart of Bourbon & Derby City.”

“Today, Churchill Downs becomes an important component of a downtown Louisville revitalization that has been gaining momentum the last several years. Downtown is our community’s center, and as the economic engine of the region, our downtown also is our region’s center,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Derby City Gaming Downtown will bring even more life to Fourth Street with just shy of an acre’s worth of space for more entertainment offerings, another stop for bourbon fans, a shopping outlet for Kentucky Derby merchandise and permanent jobs to downtown. Thank you, Churchill Downs, for your commitment, your investment and for your belief in our great city.”

“OneWest is extremely excited about this collaboration and what it will mean for the minority contractors of Louisville,” said Evon Smith, President & CEO of OneWest. “This initiative represents intentionality around inclusion and diversity and it is starting at the top. The leadership team at Churchill Downs Incorporated are leading through action!”

“I commend the leadership at Churchill Downs for taking this meaningful step in support of the West End Opportunity Partnership and for encouraging other local corporate citizens to follow suit,” said State Senator Gerald Neal. “By taking action to address the inequities and disparities in our local communities, we are helping to make our Commonwealth a better place for all Kentuckians.”
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