By T. D. Thornton
Two additional bidders in the controversial Arlington International Racecourse sale have been revealed, and neither explicitly mentions the continuation of Thoroughbred racing as a component of their proposed development.
Eric Peterson of suburban Chicago's Daily Herald broke the story over the holiday weekend.
Of the four now-known bids submitted to seller Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), only one–submitted by the track's former president, Roy Arnold–calls for the track's grandstand and track to remain in place alongside a new 60-acre entertainment district and 300 units of housing.
Before this past weekend, the only other disclosed bid came from the Chicago Bears football team, which wants to raze the racetrack in favor of a new stadium.
According to the Herald, the two latest proposals are from Chicago-based Glenstar Properties and Schaumburg-based UrbanStreet Group LLC.
Glenstar's pitch is unconventional, the story stated, because it doesn't entail buying the land outright.
“Instead, the company would be track owner Churchill Downs' partner in a plan to sell off individual parcels for a mixed-use development with an 80- to 100-acre open recreational space as a major component of the 326-acre site,” Peterson reported.
“The more traditional way redevelopment happens is for someone to buy the property and assume all the risks,” Peterson wrote. “But under the Glenstar proposal, Churchill Downs would be part of the process and share in the risks to reap a higher reward.”
UrbanStreet representatives could not be reached for comment on the specifics of the firm's Arlington Park pitch. But Peterson wrote that the firm's approach in a redevelopment project of similar scope was to buy the entire site “and act as master developer as a variety of office, residential, retail and entertainment interests materialized.”