Hurdles, land cleared for Batavia Downs hotel

May 29, 2015








BATAVIA — The ground has been cleared, both physically and politically, for a $7 million hotel project at Batavia Downs.

Western OTB COO Mike Nolan said Thursday the sale of a 35,000 square foot property on the Park Road gaming and racing campus to ADK Hospitality of Buffalo will be completed within the month.

Construction of a 80-room hotel is set to begin in June and be completed by the end of the year.

“We want to get (most) of it done before the horses arrive,” Nolan said, referencing the late July harness season opening.

The hotel’s footprint was being cleaned of demolition debris Thursday in a space where race paddocks were previously located. The work came as new flooring for a wagering area was being installed – the last step of the Downs’ $28 million capital project.

ADK Hospitality and WROTB have worked through several levels of local government permitting, market research and securing the support of groups like the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and nearby hoteliers.

“We have all the town permits in place, the demolition has gone ahead, the contracts are signed,” said Ed Morgan, the chair of the WROTB board’s Batavia Downs committee. “We just have the GCEDC to go.”

According to the economic development council, ADK Hospitality’s application for incentives has been received and will be considered for a future public hearing at the agency’s June 4 meeting.

The developers will tout the tourism impact of the project in their application.

Nolan said the facility, which would have 40 rooms overlooking the racetrack, would connect to the Downs’ gaming, entertainment and convention space. Chalked lines were drawn were an elevated corridor would connect the sites and house an enclosed area for hotel guests to watch races.

“It’s mostly for the Downs, conventions and trade shows,” Nolan said. “It’s specifically lodging.”

To accommodate the hotel, the Downs received New York Gaming Commission approval to reduce its pre-race paddock size from eight races to four.

The change will not alter racing line-ups, Racing Manager Todd Haight said, as drivers move from the stables to track warm-ups before heading to the paddocks an hour before their races.

The Downs is constructing an expanded set of wash stalls in a post-race barn that is also used for testing.

Further expansions may come if ADK Hospitality exercises an option to purchase additional space for another 40 hotel rooms. In that case, the paddocks would be completed relocated on the other end of the racing area.