02/24/2009 12:00AM

Belmont report eyes development


Two tracts of land at Belmont Park in New York could be developed to include a slot-machine parlor, hotels, retail shops, and housing, according to a report prepared by the state's Economic Development Corp. and its Racing and Wagering Board.

The report, which does not include an analysis of the economic feasibility of the projects, was requested by Gov. David Paterson late last year as a way to explore possible development options at Belmont, which is now owned by the state. Paterson, a Democrat, and the Republican leadership of the state senate support a casino at Belmont, but that proposal has been consistently blocked by Sheldon Silver, the Democratic speaker of the house.

The report considered two parcels of land - one southwest of the Belmont grandstand and the other directly south of that - that could be used for additional development. The report said that several options were available for the developments, from a small budget hotel to a large hotel and conference center with slot machines. In addition, senior housing or "big-box retail" could also be built on the parcels.

Real-estate development projects have come to a screeching halt in the recession, because of oversupply in the current market and the inability of many companies to get credit. In addition, slot machines are not currently legal at Belmont Park.