WEG making $10 million investment in Mohawk

Upgrades include winterizing the grandstand so year-round harness racing can begin at the newly-named Woodbine at Mohawk Park in the spring of 2018.

by Dave Briggs / Mark McKelvie, WEG standardbred communications

Tuesday afternoon at the Pepsi North America Cup draw at Mohawk Racetrack, Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) CEO Jim Lawson made two major announcements concerning the Campbellville, ON plant.

Lawson said WEG will make a $10 million investment in Mohawk over the next year to year-and-a-half to winterize the facility, “all with the view of bringing racing to this site year-round” starting as early as 2018.

Lawson also announced a global marketing effort to brand “one brand, two breeds” under the Woodbine name. Thus, Mohawk’s name will change to “Woodbine at Mohawk Park.”

The investments will be phased in over the coming years and will include extensive renovations to winterize the facilities for fans and horsepeople.

“The future is very bright for standardbred racing and entertainment on this site,” Lawson said. “With the long-term gaming lease in place and with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) expected to name a new gaming service provider soon, it’s a very exciting time to be a racing fan and be involved in the sport. Standardbred horsepeople are a significant part of the fabric of this community and will soon be able to race 12 months of the year here.”

Construction will begin in the fall of 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by spring 2018. Once concluded, standardbred horses will compete exclusively in Milton after racing at Woodbine for the final time through the 2017-18 winter months.

The upgrades include winterization of the grandstand, race paddock and maintenance facilities, new glass windows across the Terrace Dining Room, VIP suites and further customer amenities.

“We look forward to welcoming fans to Woodbine at Mohawk Park for world–class harness racing and to experience the new entertainment uses that will become part of the many offerings at Mohawk Park,” Lawson said. “The fan experience is outstanding, with great sightlines and fan proximity to the racing action, but this investment will take it to an entirely new level.”

The property will continue to contribute positively as an entertainment destination within the surrounding Milton community, while looking to expand and diversify its offerings. As such, Woodbine will be looking at other opportunities on the site to incorporate a mix of uses, complementary to horse racing and entertainment, on the idle lands. LiveWorkLearnPlay (LWLP), Woodbine’s lead real estate development partner, has completed a first phase Highest and Best Use Study, which set the vision, programming and development direction for the property. Woodbine will be working with SWA Group, a leading landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm that has been engaged to create the master plan to guide the long-term vision for the site’s overall development across its 440 acres. SWA previously collaborated with Woodbine Entertainment on the recently completed master plan for the redevelopment of Woodbine Racetrack.