New $455M Belmont Park Project to be Completed in 2026

The multi-year project to build a new Belmont Park will generate $1 billion in construction-related economic impact and create 3,700 construction-related jobs.

New $455M Belmont Park Project to be Completed in 2026
A rendering of the Belmont Park grandstand. Demolition of the existing 1.25-million-square-foot existing grandstand is expected to begin this month. Photo Courtesy of the New York Racing Association.

ALBANY—New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on March 4 a project timeline and additional updates on the construction of new thoroughbred racing facilities at Belmont Park, the Nassau County home of the Belmont Stakes. The New York Racing Association, which will oversee construction, released a series of architectural renderings and reported that the project is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2026. Demolition work is expected to begin this month on the storied existing grandstand structure.

The multi-year project to build a new Belmont Park will generate $1 billion in construction-related economic impact and create 3,700 construction-related jobs. Following the return of thoroughbred racing to Belmont in 2026, additional racing and non-racing activities at the new facility will generate $155 million in annual economic output and produce $10 million in new state and local tax revenue per year.

In 2023, Gov. Hochul’s Executive Budget included a proposal for NYRA to modernize Belmont Park, and the FY2024 Enacted Budget granted that approval providing NYRA with a $455-million loan to build a world-class sports and entertainment destination in Elmont, NY, just over the border from the Queens, NY community of Cambria Heights.

“The redevelopment of Belmont Park is a critical investment in one of New York’s most historic sporting venues,” Gov. Hochul said. “The new facility will support year-round racing, thousands of new jobs for Long Islanders and provide an enhanced experience for customers attending the iconic Belmont Stakes for generations to come.”

NYRA is committed to working with organized labor alongside New York State Certified Minority- and Women Owned (MWBE) and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOB) to construct a building that properly reflects the evolution of thoroughbred racing and wagering since Belmont was last renovated in the 1960s. Accordingly, NYRA will replace the existing 1.25 million-square-foot structure with a roughly 275,000-square-foot building that will feature modern amenities and hospitality offerings.

The New York Racing Association holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State's horse racing economy, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual statewide impact.

The demolition of the current Belmont Park grandstand/clubhouse is expected to begin in March and continue through early July. The new building will begin to take shape in early 2025 with the installation of structural concrete. The remaining elements of the building including the exterior façade, roof and sweeping canopy will be added throughout 2025.

As previously announced, the 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will be held at Saratoga Race Course for the first time in its 156-year history. The venue change will allow for uninterrupted construction of the new Belmont Park.

NYRA has developed a project plan that will allow for the Belmont Stakes to return to Belmont Park in June of 2026 prior to the full opening of the new building, which is scheduled for September of 2026. Although a venue for the 2026 Breeders’ Cup World Championships has yet to be determined, the new Belmont Park will be complete and ready to host the 2026 Breeders’ Cup should the opportunity arise. The Breeders’ Cup has announced its commitment to add Belmont to the rotation of host venues following NYRA’s modernization of the facility.

Beyond the fan-facing improvements to Belmont, NYRA is committed to expanding its ongoing campaign to modernize the Belmont barn area and backstretch by building three new dormitories by 2026. NYRA will also make further investments to improve the quality of life in the backstretch community, including:

  • Improvements to the on-site medical facility
  • Installing a modern Blue Light security system
  • Upgrading the Recreation Hall and Track Kitchen facilities
  • Renovating the on-site gymnasium
  • Implementing new flood mitigation strategies
  • Ensuring access to reliable Wi-Fi
  • Replacing fencing throughout the backstretch
  • Improving multi-modal travel through constructing bicycle storage sheds
  • Assess the feasibility of subsidized assistant trainer efficiency apartments.

The new Belmont grandstand, which is being designed by the architectural firm Populous in conjunction with NYRA, will dramatically increase the amount of unstructured green space available to fans by reducing the overall footprint of the building. And because of the vehicular and pedestrian tunnels providing access to the 45-acre Belmont infield for the first time, the new Belmont Park will provide fans and the surrounding community with more open space than ever before. The project is the first ground-up racetrack construction to occur in the United States in nearly 40 years.

While the new Belmont Park will have the same 50,000-person capacity as the existing venue, the layout of seats, suites, and standing spaces has been adjusted to accommodate flexible seasonal attendance. The addition of a winterized building paired with new racing surfaces and a synthetic track will result in a facility suitable to host thoroughbred racing on a year-round basis. As required by the 2024 Enacted Budget, NYRA will consolidate all downstate racing and training activities at the new Belmont Park to unlock 110 acres of New York State-owned land at Aqueduct Racetrack for development opportunities.

NYRA President and CEO David O’Rourke said, “The transformation of Belmont Park will secure the future of thoroughbred racing in New York State, create thousands of jobs and drive tourism to Long Island and the region for decades to come. NYRA is committed to building a world-class destination that will set the global standard for a racing facility, and we thank Governor Hochul for the opportunity to completely re-imagine Belmont.”

Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties Matthew Aracich said, “The renovation of Belmont Park’s Grandstand will re-brand the Empire State as the crowned jewel of the horse racing world. NYRA’s imagination gives us the opportunity to cheer on a winner in style—it is an essential launchpad for attracting visitors to Long Island who want to be entertained for an entire day. I applaud Governor Hochul and NYRA President, David O’Rourke for ensuring this landmark destination is completed utilizing a project labor agreement creating 3,700 union construction jobs and 740 permanent jobs. It is important to note that this new replacement facility is a fraction of the original size but will generate $155 million in economic activity as well as $10 million in new state and local tax revenue.”

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