Maryland Stadium Authority Delivers Part 1 of Report to Maryland General Assembly
In April 2022, the Maryland General Assembly threw down the gauntlet and required by law (HB897) that the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) submit a two-part report on the progress of Pimlico Racetrack and Laurel Park .
Past The Wire obtained a copy of the first part of the report which the General Assembly received on September 30.
The legislation noted several agreements and reporting requirements that must be finalized before the MSA can issue bonds and/or proceed with construction-related activities for the Pimlico Project.
Of the eight prior agreements and reporting requirements, only one has been met. To read the eight prior agreements and requirements, click here.
The one that has been completed is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by and between LifeBridge Health, Inc., the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) and the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) required by Chapter 590. The parties have entered into the MOU , which was fully executed and effective on April 18, 2022.
The MSA report indicates that the intention of the General Assembly was for the MSA to carry out the design, architecture, engineering and permitting at the Pimlico site.
MSA stated that because of the disparity between MSA and MJC and the disparity between the City of Baltimore (the City) and MJC on the key commercial terms of the major agreements and the history of actions, inactions and of the MJC changes outlined in the report, MSA does not recommend entering design as noted under HB897 in September 2022 until Pimlico Development Agreement, Commitments and Restrictions Agreement of the MJC with the city and the agreement on the commitments and restrictions of the MJC with LifeBridge be finalized.
After reviewing the ongoing racing operations at the Pimlico Racing Facility site during construction, and in consultation with the Pimlico Racing Licensee, the MSA General Assembly will proceed with the demolition of the Pimlico Racing Facility. old Pimlico Grandstand in a fast track.
The original purpose of the General Assembly requesting the report was to learn of the efforts made by the interested parties and the MSA to reduce the overall project costs of the two facilities.
Laurel Park Report
A particular report at Laurel Park was a report on the cost and timing of the race facility site based on the programmatic desires of the current owner (MJC/The Stronach Group (TSG).
Lawmakers have requested a report on the cost and schedule of Laurel Park based on the implementation of the recommendations of the report required under Chapter 61, Section 3 (f), of the mile’s Thoroughbred licensees , the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (MTHA), and Maryland Horse Breeders. Association (MHBA).
The plan is/was to conduct testing and evaluation of existing running surfaces at the Laurel Park site, including geophysical surveys as required.
After the enactment of Chapter 590, the MSA spent considerable time and effort working collaboratively with representatives of the MJC and MTHA to identify programmatic needs and develop concept plans for Laurel Park. Throughout the protracted programming effort, the demands and desires of both parties continued to fluctuate. This resulted in the development of numerous concept plans and estimates.
A finalized MJC baseline concept program was agreed to by the parties in late 2021. This program and associated concept plans served as the basis for third-party cost estimates generated in early 2022 which were then shared with executives at Spring 2022. At that time, Laurel Park was expected to be over budget by more than $150 million based on revenue projections and schedule assumptions.
Following an introductory kick-off meeting on June 14, 2022, the committee participated in several targeted bi-weekly workshop sessions to identify a program that would meet the needs of the racing industry in the event of a change in ownership or structure. operational.
The MSA cannot proceed with a development schedule until there is a resolution on the owner/operator arrangement and associated program for Laurel Park.
Pimlico development and land severance
In 2016, MJC sold a 25-acre parcel of Pimlico land to LifeBridge for $10 million. Agreement 3, noted open in the report, mentions an assignment of part of the property by LifeBridge. It is not clear if this is the property mentioned in the report.
The report notes that transportation is required for the rotation of track surfaces and the general redevelopment of Pimlico.
The original plans set the track distance at 7⁄/8 of a mile, but the plans were amended to set the distance at one mile.
The terms of the legislation require the MJC to transfer the racing facility from Pimlico to the City of Baltimore. It is still pending, however, this process and the terms of the agreement have not yet been finalized. The property must be owned by a government entity or non-profit organization to be eligible for bonds to fund the project.
Only vehicle ownership. MJC retains ownership of the Preakness, all trademarks of the Preakness and the Woodlawn Vase.
Agreement 8 relates to how the Pimlico property will be developed. It is not stated in the report, but only 20 acres of the property will be developed as the Pimlico Racing Facility and the remaining 90 acres will be subdivided into parcels.
There was no agreement between the MJC and the City of Baltimore regarding covenants and restrictions. MSA reported that MJC shared a voluminous 94-page document with the city outlining their desired commitments and restrictions associated with the use and redevelopment of the (subdivided) parcels surrounding the redeveloped Pimlico racing facility.
There is a general disagreement between the MJC, the City and the MSA regarding the development of Pimlico.
Agreement 4 is needed to outline the roles, responsibilities and requirements of each party during the actual redevelopment process. MSA developed and shared a first draft of the Development Agreement with MJC and the City on May 25, 2022 and received preliminary comments from MJC on August 16, 2022.
MSA said that while the parties will continue to work toward an agreement, they all currently remain far apart on terms.
The two biggest areas of disagreement are: (1) the MJC’s demand for full approval rights on all scheduling, planning, and budgeting decisions and (2) the construction-related restrictions surrounding the Preakness during redevelopment. Follow-up negotiation meetings between the parties began in September.
Although the MSA recommended against issuing the bonds due to lack of deals, progress has been made over the past 18 months in planning and design.
Following the enactment of Section 590, MSA conducted an extensive procurement process for design services that concluded with the engagement of Ayers Saint Gross (“ASG”) for Pimlico in February 2021. The meetings Launch and planning internals with ASG began March 1, 2021. MSA has spent significant time and effort working with representatives from MJC and MTHA to confirm program requirements for the race facility Redeveloped Pimlico. Efforts resulted in numerous concept plans with a finalized core MJC concept program agreed upon in late 2021 (the “Pimlico 2021 Program”). This program served as the basis for third-party cost estimates generated in early 2022 and shared with management in the spring of 2022.
The first programming workshop for the Pimlico Racing Facility took place on April 16, 2021. Over the next eight months, MSA and its consultants worked with representatives from MJC and MTHA to identify their programmatic needs and desires and generated several concepts. level plans for a redeveloped Pimlico racing facility. MSA worked with third-party cost estimation consultant Rider Levett Bucknall (“RLB”) to generate program-level estimates for each of the concept plans. Throughout the process, MJC identified several programming wishes that differed from the original concept plan that served as the basis for Chapter 590.
These changes included, but were not limited to: Increased total gross floor area associated with the new pavilion structure. And the addition of an elevated superdeck structure in the infield to accommodate Preakness layering desires.
Chapter 61 paved the way for advancing design efforts on Pimlico, and MSA continued to engage with MJC representatives. However, before moving the design efforts forward, the MSA asked the MJC to confirm its agreement with the Pimlico 2021 program.
MSA reports that MJC’s responses have been piecemeal and staggered, with final comments only received by MSA on September 9, 2022. Pimlico 2021 program.
In the end, the Pimlico project stalled, except for the demolition of the old grandstand. Laurel is not moving forward and is expected to cost $150 million more than originally estimated
The second part of the report is due to be presented to the General Assembly on January 1, 2023.
To read the first part of the report in its entirety, click here.
By Maribeth Kalinitch
Photo by April Inloes Smith