Master plan for Woodbine Racetrack development unveiled

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Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) has pledged to create “a city within a city” on its 684-acre racetrack site in Rexdale.

WEG’s CEO Jim Lawson said the horse racing operator’s newly released master plan for the Woodbine Racetrack lands seeks to transform the site into the “future urban heart of northwest Toronto,” while at the same time keeping “the beauty of the horse” at the core of the project.

“With over 2,000 thoroughbred horses stabled on site, approximately 200 acres will continue to be devoted to horse racing operations at the centre of this unique development,” Lawson said in a statement released April 25.

“The master plan sets out a detailed road map that will create thousands of new local jobs in the community, introduce new fans to the sport of horse racing and be a transformative project for the City of Toronto in the years to come.”

Under the new plan, Woodbine will continue on as a destination for horse racing and gaming, but also seek to integrate new expanded uses – including entertainment and cultural offerings, food and dining, hotel, shopping, office space, post-secondary education, recreation, health, wellness, and urban residential living.

The first phase of the development will include an expanded gaming district, complete with integrated entertainment, hospitality and related amenities – additions WEG expects will double the current number of Woodbine visitors to upwards of 12 to 15 million people a year.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) expects to name a private sector provider to operate the Slots at Woodbine and to propose an expanded entertainment development by late summer 2017.

The Woodbine master plan was developed with LiveWorkLearnPlay (LWLP), WEG’s lead real estate development advisor, in partnership with a dynamic group of industry-leading professionals.

“The Woodbine Racetrack site represents a unique legacy opportunity to develop a place that can offer enduring social and economic value to the city and region, while ensuring the sustainability of the horse racing industry,” LWLP’s Richard Martz said in a statement.

“WEG’s ambitious planning and development strategy has been designed to effectively respond to that context and opportunity.”