Posted on Fri, May. 24, 2002

Golden Gate Fields plan calls for big development


ALBANY -- The face of Golden Gate Fields could change dramatically to include hotels, a conference center, restaurants and retail space under a plan submitted to the city by track officials this week.

Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns and operates the track, proposed the integrated commercial and entertainment complex dubbed Rancho San Antonio, for Fleming Point, which is adjacent to the track entrance, and the North Basin Strip in Berkeley, Albany officials said.

The conceptual plan outlines plans to replace the existing horse stalls on parcels within Berkeley with a hotel, restaurant and parking facilities. Albany officials said there is no indication where new stables would be constructed.

In Albany, Magna wants to build 300,000 square feet of commercial, retail and entertainment facilities; a 300,000-square-foot event center capable of holding 10,000 people; and expand its racetrack simulcast facilities by 100,000 square feet. A parking structure also is proposed.

Those buildings would be placed west of the grandstand and are proposed to not exceed its height, city officials said.

An alternative that includes a hotel in Albany also was proposed.

Submittal of the proposal triggers a two- to three-year review process that will involve officials and planners from both cities.

City officials said Magna expects there will be public workshops to refine and define specifics of the plan.

Albany will act as lead agency on the environmental review and evaluate the project for conformity to both city zoning laws and Measure C, approved by city voters to govern waterfront development.