Belmont Park grandstand to be demolished, replaced during renovations


A project timeline and updates about the construction of new thoroughbred racing facilities at Elmont’s Belmont Park were announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul on March 4.

The New York Racing Association, known as NYRA, which will oversee construction at the property, released a series of architectural renderings that bring the project’s vision to life.

“The redevelopment of Belmont Park is a critical investment in one of New York’s most historic sporting venues,” Hochul said in a news release. The last renovation to Belmont was made in the 1960s.

The existing 1.25 million-square-feet grandstand will be replaced with a roughly 275,000-square-feet building, featuring the modern amenities and hospitality offerings sports fans now expect. It will have the same 50,000-person capacity as the existing venue.

The demolition of the current Belmont Park grandstand and clubhouse is expected to begin in March and continue through early July. According to Hochul’s news release, 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.

The new Belmont grandstand is being designed by architectural firm Populous along with the NYRA. The building will increase the amount of unstructured green space available to fans by reducing the overall footprint of the building.

“The future of Belmont Park is deeply important to Elmont,” said Belmont Park Local Advisory Board Member Sandra Smith in a news release. “So, it’s exciting to see a plan that expands green space for the community while modernizing the overall facility.”

Vehicular and pedestrian tunnels will provide access to the 45-acre Belmont infield for the first time, providing fans and the surrounding community with more open space than ever before.

“Belmont Park stands at the very center of Elmont, and has been a focal point of our community for decades,” said Elmont Chamber of Commerce President Julie Marchesella in a news release. “That’s why families in Elmont have eagerly awaited a renewed Belmont Park, and we applaud Governor Hochul and our friends at NYRA making this project a reality.”

A winterized building, new racing surfaces and a synthetic track will allow Belmont Park to host thoroughbred racing on a year-round basis.

NYRA is committed to modernizing the Belmont barn area and backstretch, including three new dormitories by 2026. It also plans to improve the on-site medical facility, install a modern Blue Light security system, upgrade the recreation hall and track kitchen facilities, renovate the on-site gymnasium, implement new flood mitigation strategies, ensure access to reliable Wi-Fi, replace fencing throughout the backstretch, improve multi-modal travel through construction of bicycle storage shed, and assess the feasibility of subsidized assistant trainer efficiency apartments.

As previously reported, the running of the 2024 Belmont Stakes will be held at Saratoga Race Course June 8 as part of a four-day Festival from June 6-9.

The project is expected to be completed in 2026 and generate $1 billion in construction-related economic impact and create 3,700 construction-related jobs, according to NYRA. Once thoroughbred racing returns to Belmont, additional racing and non-racing activities will generate an estimated $155 million in annual economic output and produce $10 million in new state and local tax revenue per year.

NYRA is committed to working with organized labor alongside state certified Minority- and Women Owned and Service Disable Veteran-Owned Businesses to construct the building.

“The transformation of Belmont Park into a renewed economic driver is underway with backstretch improvements and world-class amenities – and it’s all being done with our union partners,” said Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages in a news release. “These details and milestones underscore New York’s commitment to the community, and I thank Governor Hochul for working with me to make this project a reality.”