Empire State Development Announces RFP for Belmont Park: Press release

Empire State Development Announces RFP for Belmont Park

Proposals are due September 28, 2017

July 31, 2017

Empire State Development (ESD) today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of property within Belmont Park, located in Elmont within the Town of Hempstead, New York.

“Belmont Park represents an exciting and much-anticipated development opportunity on Long Island,” said ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “We encourage respondents to submit creative proposals that stimulate vibrant community and economic growth in the region.”

Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horseracing facility first opened in 1905 and redeveloped from 1964-1968. The subject of this RFP is comprised of two parcels totaling approximately 36 acres, both currently vacant and underutilized parking lots. Site A contains a total of approximately 8 acres, bordered on the south by Hempstead Turnpike and adjacent to the Cross Island Parkway. Site B contains a total of approximately 28 acres and is located south of the Hempstead Turnpike. Respondents may also propose an alternative, which includes the sites and land adjacent to Site A, north of Hempstead Turnpike.  Additional land adjacent to Site A included in respondents’ proposals shall total no more than 7 acres for a total of 15 acres including Site A. Respondents who wish to submit an alternative development proposal must also submit a proposal for the Sites.

The goal of this RFP is to strengthen Belmont as a premier destination for entertainment, sports, recreation, retail and hospitality on Long Island.

Proposals should strive to address the following development objectives:

  •          Enhance Belmont Park to become one of Long Island’s premier destinations for entertainment, sports, hospitality and retail, with uses that are complementary to the existing Belmont Park racetrack;
  •          Maximize economic benefit to the State while minimizing the State’s economic and environmental risk;
  •          Provide a source of quality jobs for area and New York State residents;
  •          Benefit the neighborhoods and communities adjacent to and surrounding Belmont Park;
  •          Maximize incorporation of green building and sustainable design practices;
  •          Feature meaningful participation of Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses.

Responses are due by 2:00 p.m ET on September 28, 2017. An optional site visit is scheduled for August 17, 2017. Respondents are not required to attend; however, if they wish to participate, they must RSVP to BelmontParkRFP@esd.ny.gov

 The RFP and additional information is available on the Empire State Development website here.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov  and www.esd.ny.gov.

Belmont Park Development RFP OK’d by Franchise Oversight Board

In a 16-minute meeting Friday, July 28, the Franchise Oversight Board (FOB) that oversees the racing franchise and properties associated with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) reviewed and approved the release of a request for proposal (RFP) that covers long-term leasing for development of a maximum of approximately 43 acres on and adjacent to Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. This RFP differs from one released in 2012, in that it adds for development approximately seven acres of land currently under lease to NYRA. It is expected the New York Islanders will participate in the RFP to develop a sports facility on the proposed site.

FOB Chairman Robert Williams explained the goal for the RFP, developed by Empire State Development (ESD) for the board, is to

Strengthen Belmont as a premier destination for entertainment, sports, recreation, retail and hospitality on Long Island … In doing so, the projects must be complementary to horse racing and parimutuel wagering, and, maximize the economic benefits to the state while minimizing the state’s economic and environmental risk.

There are two parcels of property covered by the RFP. Site A is approximately 8 acres adjacent to the Belmont Park Clubhouse and bordered to the west by the Belmont Park spur of the Long Island Rail Road. Site B is across the street from Belmont Park comprising approximately 28 acres along Hempstead Turnpike.. In its current iteration the RFP offers a Site A-alternative option of adding seven acres – probably adjacent to Belmont Park’s Grandstand and Paddock area. Developers are required to submit plans that include both A and B sites; whether or not they submit plans for the additional seven acres for Site A is optional.

The ESD offered no rationale for the decision to add actively-leased property to the RFP. When asked about the actual configuration of Site A-alternative, the ESD representative said, “We haven’t prescribed in this RFP how this 15 acres is put together … (we are) flexible in terms of how that 15 acres is put together.”

ESD representatives said at this stage there was no expectation for bidders to consult with NYRA concerning the impact of the development project on NYRA’s activities. With regard to incorporating land already leased to NYRA as part of a development proposal, the ESD representative said any arrangement would have to be worked out in that scenario.

Matthew Espinosa: Racing’s Newest Fan

Matthew Espinosa’s first trip to the racetrack won’t be his last. After spending opening day at southern California’s Del Mar Thoroughbred Club with friends and family, Espinosa is hooked, “I’m definitely going to go back, I had a lot of fun, a calm day. You can have a good time betting on horses and the people watching is a whole different world!”

Originally a digital star with an army of social media followers numbering in the tens-of-millions, 20-year old Matthew Espinosa is the lead in the 2016 film Be Somebody, and he shares his rise to success in his book, More Than Me. Before hitting the track, his impression of racing mostly came from media, ”The closest I came to horse racing were random clips, like on Entourage.”

AMERICA’S BEST RACING
Matthew Espinosa enjoying the races at Del Mar Racetrack

America’s Best Racing hosted Espinosa and his crew at Del Mar and had handicapper-racing pundit Jose Contreras guide the newbies in the basics. “I brought my friend Q, my sister and her boyfriend and they were talking that it was a lot of fun, a lot more fun than we expected. We didn’t know what to expect, none of us had been there before. It was really cool for all of us, placing bets, understanding how it all works. I won two races, I’m 100% into new experiences!”

AMERICA’S BEST RACING
Matthew being Matthew with a fan at Del Mar Racetrack

Billy Koch of Little Red Feather Racing invited Matthew Espinosa and company down to the winner’s circle if the Little Red Feather horse won. Alas, it was Koch’s horse was nipped at the wire. Koch mentioned there are ways of having fun as an owner in a partnership. Asked about that later, Espinosa didn’t rule it out in the future when he’ll have more time for hobbies.

The opening day fashion parade caught Espinosa’s eye. “I was randomly taking photos of people with really cool outfits. I was thinking this is really unique, I gotta document this. I was very under-dressed. I’m like ‘Whoa, what’s going on here?’ Gotta step it up with a suit the next time. Is there some kind of checkeredsuit.com?”

 

Horse racing will have to wait until Espinosa returns from his upcoming Going Global Tour, where he’ll be appearing in 22 European cities from August 4 to 31.