State submits redevelopment plans for Belmont Park

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Following in the footsteps of Aqueduct Race Track, the state has submitted plans for the potential redevelopment at Belmont Park that would include video lottery terminals, retail shops and a hotel as possibilities.

The Empire State Economic Development Corp. and the state Racing and Wagering Board completed a study late last month that outlined plans to develop space near the grandstand at Belmont and a lot east of the Elmont, L.I., track.

State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D−St. Albans) said redevelopment at Belmont would help alleviate the state’s fiscal situation.

“As we rebuild our state’s economy, it is great news that a redevelopment project for Belmont Park is underway because the immediate result is the creation of new jobs and the stabilizing of our tax base,” he said in a statement. “However, the long−term benefits are the best news as this development attracts thousands of new visitors every year who contribute to the state and local economy.”

Late last year, the state approved 4,500 VLTs to be installed at Aqueduct, although it is unclear when the project will begin. The Ozone Park track is also slated for other development, which may include a hotel, conference center and retail shops.

For an eight−acre parcel near Belmont’s grandstand, the study suggested building either a 240,000−­square−f­oot racino with VLTs, a small hotel with VLTs in the grandstand, a large hotel with VLTs in the grandstand or a small or large hotel with in−house VLTs.

A gaming analysis would determine exactly how many VLTs would be installed. About 4,500 VLTs have been approved for Aqueduct.

For the second parcel, the study envisioned either lifestyle retail shops with a small hotel, big box retail with the option to build a sports facility or mixed−use retail with senior housing.

Whatever options are chosen, Smith said the surrounding community should have input.

“It is my desire that this new economic growth happen as a result of partnerships between Belmont and the local communities in a way that hasn’t before,” he said.

Smith said he was working to create a local community advisory board that would include residents from Elmont, L.I.; Bellerose; Floral Park; and Queens Village.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:34 pm, October 10, 2011
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