NEW KENT COUNTY, Va (WAVY) — The rebirth of Virginia’s only thoroughbred race track moves forward with a Norfolk interior design company leading the way.
“Within” was hired by Chicago-based Revolutionary Racing, the new owners of the track, to remodel the 21-year-old clubhouse with a specific vision.
“They were looking for somebody local, and they had an interest because we were all female,” said Heather Robinson, President of Within. “I have to say with 20 years of working in the industry I have never been asked by a client to think of the design in the perspective of a woman.”
The fresh look will be evident when a person first walks into the facility, according to Robinson.
“We had to create a transition of Virginia tradition on the outside, and once you make that transition inside, to making a dynamic and fun environment,” Robinson said.
Robinson’s designers have a hand in designing everything from the 3-new restaurants to the bathrooms. In many renderings you will find pictures and paintings of woman.
“The graphics are really carrying the idea and design throughout the entire space,” Robinson said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this team.”
Colonial Downs management is hoping to reopen the track in spring 2019 with live thoroughbred racing making a comeback sometime in fall 2019.
In June, Governor Ralph Northam signed into law a bill that allows Colonial Downs to bring off track betting to the track via historic horse racing technology.
While management hopes a new gaming emporium named “Rosie’s” will be a big draw, they also want to book events for families.
“The economics of horse racing today, requires a different model today then it did yesterday,” said John Marshall, Senior Vice President of Colonial Downs. “We’re introducing horse racing to a new audience.”
There has been no live racing at the track since 2014. The facility’s developer and longtime owner surrendered its license to the Virginia Racing Commission over a dispute with a nonprofit that represents thoroughbred horse owners, trainers and breeders.
A Revolutionary Racing commissioned study says the reopened facility could produce more than 1,000 jobs and have an annual economic impact of nearly $350 million.