WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (January 16, 2014) – Southland Park Gaming & Racing today announced a $37.4 million project planned for 2014 to once again expand its gaming and hospitality amenities, plus redesign and enhance the venue’s exterior, main drive and south entrance.
The key component is the construction of a 41,000-square-foot building addition to house up to 500 new gaming machines – which will bring Southland Park’s total capacity to more than 1,950 games – and a 150-seat themed restaurant and sports bar. Upon completion of the expansion, Southland plans to have more than 1,700 games featured on the gaming floor.
The current building’s exterior will be “reskinned” so that both it and the addition appear as one seamless complex. The exterior will feature new walls with improved signage and LED lighting, as well as improved disability access and parking. The southeast entrance from North Ingram Boulevard will be redesigned, and a new main drive created to a new porte-cochere and entrance of the venue. This will also create space for an expanded valet parking program. A new loading dock on the east side of the complex will also be constructed.
Southland Park is planning a ground breaking ceremony on January 27, 2014 and anticipates completing the expansion by the end of 2014.
“Our business keeps growing, so we want to continue the expansion and transformation of Southland Park into the unquestioned premiere gaming destination in the Mid-South,” said Troy Keeping, Southland Park’s president and general manager. “This project will provide our guests with more space and allow us to add more of the best gaming machines on the market and another popular restaurant and entertainment spot within our complex.”
The project will mark the second major expansion and renovation project since 2012 for the increasingly popular regional entertainment destination in West Memphis, Ark., about 10 miles from Memphis, Tenn. Southland Park completed a $11 million renovation and expansion project in 2012 that added 200 gaming machines, a larger event center, kitchen and serving space for the World Market Buffet, and the new Shine Blounge.
In addition, Southland Park this summer relocated some of its office space in the complex to accommodate an addition of 50 gaming machines on the gaming floor; that gaming expansion will be complete in mid-December of this year. It also recently completed renovations to the popular Juke Joint entertainment venue by adding a new bar and well featuring a walk-up service window that allows guests to order drinks directly from the gaming floor, new carpeting throughout the room, a new elevated seating area, a new dance floor, larger performance stage and a public-accessible restroom.
Southland Park is owned and operated by global hospitality provider Delaware North Companies.
“Our team at Southland Park has done an excellent job building it into a great place for entertainment,” said Brian Hansberry, president of Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment. “The support from West Memphis, the region and the State of Arkansas has also been tremendous, and Delaware North is proud to be able to expand our positive effect on the local and state economy.”
Already one of the area’s largest employers, Southland Park plans to add 60 new jobs, hourly as well as management positions, to its current workforce of more than 675 associates. Keeping said that represents nearly an additional $1.4 million in payroll and benefits, bringing that total to almost $21.3 million annually.
The project will also create a number of temporary construction jobs. Crossland Construction Co. Inc. in Rogers, Ark., was selected as the construction manager.
In addition, the expansion is expected to increase Southland Park’s tax contributions to the City of West Memphis, Crittenden County and the State of Arkansas by more than $3.7 million – to a total of more than $35.1 million annually. The amount in purses paid to kennel operators is also projected to grow $2.8 million – to just over $28 million in 2015.
“We also hope to increase our already substantial support of local charitable and community organizations,” Keeping said. “Providing help to these organizations is very important to Southland Park and Delaware North.”
The project will be the latest in a series of improvements made by Delaware North to the nearly 60-year-old racing venue. Prior to the $11 million 2012 renovation and expansion, Delaware North made a $40 million investment in 2006 to bring 600 gaming machines and various added hospitality amenities to Southland Park. In 2008, the company renovated a wagering room for racing enthusiasts called Winner’s Edge and added The Bourbon Street Steakhouse and Grill.
At the completion of the 2014 project, Delaware North will have invested more than $100 million over the last decade to enhance Southland Park as an entertainment destination.