Michigan’s last remaining horse racetrack could soon disappear and become a 48-acre residential development for new single-family homes, townhouses and multifamily housing.
According to a Crain’s Detroit Business report
, Farmington Hills, Mich.-based homebuilder Hunter Pasteur Homes is under contract to purchase Northville Downs, a harness racing venue which began as a horse driving club in 1907 and evolved into its current form in 1944. The racetrack employs 69 people and offers racing on Fridays and Saturdays and simulcast wagering on races from other tracks throughout the week. Northville Downs is the last venue of its kind in Michigan, which saw the closure of eight tracks over the last 20 years as gamblers opted to place their bets in the state’s commercial and tribal casinos.
However, the project is not a done-deal, with no agreement announced on either the purchase price or the development costs.
“This project is in the preliminary stages, and we're eager to continue working with the city of Northville and our partners to iron out the numerous details that come with a project of this scale,” said Randy Wertheimer, president and CEO of Hunter Pasteur. “We expect to have all entitlements in place in 2019. As more details become available, we will share them with the community.”
And in the event that the transaction proceeds, Michigan racing fans may see another incarnation of Northville Downs.
“Live harness racing and simulcast wagering will continue at our current location through 2020,” Northville Downs said in a statement. “We are in the process of exploring multiple other locations to develop a first-class, state-of-the-art racing and gaming facility that Michigan will be proud of. We will continue to work closely with state and local representatives to implement the necessary changes that other states around us have, so we can bring racing back to its finest day.”