NYRA opens new backstretch residence at Belmont Park
by Pat McKenna
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the completion of a new residential building designed and constructed to serve the backstretch community at Belmont Park. The new building, which will provide space for 100 residents, is the second newly constructed residential building at Belmont Park in just the last three years and is a significant step in NYRA's campaign to upgrade residential facilities for the men and women living and working at Belmont.
"The opening of this residence is yet another example of NYRA's ongoing and unyielding commitment to the backstretch community," said NYRA CEO & President Chris Kay. "The level of investment made to transform existing residential spaces and design and construct new buildings is unprecedented in NYRA's history and has resulted in positive change at all three NYRA tracks. I'd like to thank the members of the NYRA Board for supporting the most ambitious backstretch improvement plan of any racing organization in the country."
In 2013, NYRA launched a multi-year capital improvement campaign to modernize backstretch facilities at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack. In support of that goal, NYRA will have invested $23 million by the end of 2018 in both new construction and renovations to existing residential buildings. As a result of this investment, all 71 residential buildings at Belmont have been, or will be, completely or partially renovated by the end of 2019.
With the opening of this new residence, NYRA's commitment to upgrading backstretch facilities has resulted in the successful completion of two new residential buildings at Belmont. The first of these was opened in June of 2016 with space for 137 residents and marked the first new residential construction at any NYRA track in many decades. The second, which is currently occupied and will continue welcoming members of the backstretch community in the coming days, was designed and constructed in less than one year.
At Saratoga, and as part of the same multi-year capital improvement campaign, NYRA has renovated all 36 Oklahoma Training Track residences, which are utilized from April through mid-November. With that work now complete, 2019 will see the focus shift to the Saratoga main track side where planned work includes renovations to the dormitories utilized during the annual race meet from mid-July through early September.
With the full renovation of the three residences at Aqueduct having been completed in 2016, NYRA has renovated 110 residential buildings and constructed two new residential buildings across its three racetracks since 2013.
In 2019, NYRA will conduct additional work to an array of facilities and buildings throughout the backstretch at Belmont. Together with planned work at both Saratoga and Aqueduct, NYRA will invest $6 million in 2019 to build on the substantial progress made since 2013 to support the backstretch community.