Northville Downs project holdup gives racing a reprieve
A delay in the redevelopment of Northville Downs will prolong harness racing at the track until 2024.
Plans for a mix of residential and commercial development on the site hit a snag last year when Northville's planning commission rejected a site plan from Farmington Hills-based Hunter Pasteur Homes.
Mike Carlo, operations manager and co-owner of Northville Downs, said this week Northville Downs entered into a new lease agreement with the property owner, Northville Driving Club Corp., that allows the racetrack to operate through 2024.
It was previously reported that harness racing and simulcast wagering would continue through 2020 at the site after it was purchased in 2018 for the redevelopment.
"We are excited to be a part of the Michigan business community," Carlo said. "I think the thing that has kept us alive for 76 years is the way we treat our customers."
Northville Downs is the state's only remaining horse track. If and when its redevelopment happens, Carlo said the Northville Downs company plans to build a new track somewhere in Metro Detroit.
Concerns with the proposed project, which called for more than 500 residential units and about 18,700 square feet of commercial space, included its density, the traffic impact and how public improvements would be funded.
"We want a redevelopment that is in character with the community," Northville City Manager Patrick Sullivan said.
The developer pulled its site plan application and the city has reopened its master plan to consider making amendments to the Northville Downs area. The application by the developer showed that property on the site previously thought to be undevelopable could be developed if certain modifications are made to the site, Sullivan said.
Randy Wertheimer, president and CEO of the developer, Hunter Pasteur Homes, said Friday the company is "holding tight" as the city works through the master plan revision process.
"We are patient and we will be here to develop the site that’s best for the city of Northville," he said. "It's a great location. It's a highly desirable place to live. We look forward to working collaboratively with the city of Northville."