Batavia Downs will sell land for hotel

Feb 27, 2015

Enhancement BATAVIA — Western OTB officials revealed Thursday that another major project is coming to Batavia Downs, approving a land deal to bring a 80- to 100-room hotel to the Park Road gaming facility. ADK Hospitality of Buffalo will pay $605,000 to purchase 35,000 square feet of land on the Downs property. The deal is contingent on the hotel project moving forward. WROTB CEO Michael Kane said four sites are being considered for the hotel, with a final decision depending on input from the OTB, the developer, the city and town of Batavia and the GCEDC. A pair of potential sites are north of Park Road in the Downs’ parking lots, with locations to the northeast and southwest sides of the existing facility also being considered. A rendering shown to directors Thursday shows a five-story, art deco-style hotel situated to the west of the Down’s harness racing track near the Downs’ valet parking lot. Some of the rooms would look out onto the first and second turns of the racing loop. The hotel would be primarily focused on guests coming to the Downs. “With the (capital) project, we knew this was the next step,” Kane said. “This is mainly here for people coming for gaming, racing or functions. It’s a tremendous addition for conventions and weddings and the events we can attract.” The project will bring more than $10 million in private investment to the Downs, WROTB Executive Vice President Mike Nolan said, adding to the OTB’s recently-completed $28 million capital project. The project would allow the Downs to keep pace with gaming facilities constructed by the Seneca Nation of Indians to the west and state-approved resort casinos being developed to the west. “It’s a big enhancement, another game changer,” Nolan said. “We’ve got to go to the next level, it’s a competitive market. (With a hotel) we can offer the complete gaming experience.” He anticipates the hotel will open in the first quarter of 2016 after a nine-month construction. The tentative land sale was approved by Western OTB directors Thursday. “It’s a strong decision, the directors understand the potential for a hotel and the advantages it will provide the Downs,” Kane said. “It brings rooms, a climate controlled connection to the facility and adds no competition to our banquet and dining facilities. We’ll be working together.” Batavia Downs projects to pull in a larger base of customers from a wider region with the addition of a hotel by providing a reason to stay and play for multiple days. Hasenauer said research pulled from gaming data shows many of the Downs’ typical customers are from nearby communities. They stay for an afternoon, bookended by a meal. But there are a growing number of out-of-state visitors and summer travelers who play for three or four days in a row. “They’re obviously staying nearby,” Hasenauer said. WROTB has discussed the project with city, town and county officials, Nolan said, with the project likely to come before the county’s economic development corporation in the near future. He sees the investment as helping Batavia, which lost $3 million in its tax base when WROTB took ownership of the Downs in 1998, receive an even larger impact from WROTB’s growth. “A hotel enables us to bring many more people here, it’s a win for us, Batavia and Genesee County,” Nolan said. Article from The Batavia Daily News and taken from http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/news/article_fac6f03e-bdde-11e4-9cc7-0b89a7d811a1.html