Mar 13 2009

Golden Gate Fields Files Bankruptcy

Published by at 8:02 pm under Golden Gate Fields,Waterfront Planning

Albany Waterfront Beach

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The owner of Golden Gate Fields filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday, and intends to sell multiple assets, including the horse racing track in the East Bay.

“It’s really business as usual for us,” said Robert Hartman, general manager of Golden Gate Fields. “We are open for business. There are going to be no changes. We plan for horse racing to be at Golden Gate Fields for a very long time.”

Some Albany city officials seek major changes at the track complex. The big parking lot next to the track has caught their eye in particular.

“The race track is not the best use of the property as a whole,” Albany City Councilman Robert Lieber said. “I hope the new owners of the racetrack will work with the city for something that benefits everyone.”

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Albany’s Golden Gate Fields goes on the auction block April 3 as part of a court-mandated sale of properties owned by ailing Magna Entertainment.

the ultimate winner may well by the company’s parent firm, MI Developments (MID), which holds liens against the company and has entered a so-called “stalking horse bid” for three tracks—Golden Gate, Pimlico and Lone Star—as well as Magna’s odds-processing firm, a betting service and other real estate.

If MID wins its $195 million bid it will move immediately to commercially develop the site, a move certain to ignite a political firestorm in Albany. writes:

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In Albany, the future of Golden Gate Fields and particularly the waterfront land it controls has been a topic of heated debate for years. The City did not agree to zoning changes sought by a developer that would have allowed developing a retail and lodging complex on the property and instead began an envisioning process on how the city could preserve open park space there while still getting some revenue from limited development.


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