Perth Racing rescues Belmont Park

Perth Racing has signed off on a $4 billion residential development around Belmont racecourse.  The deal is with a Hong Kong contractor Golden River Developments and will secure the future of racing at Belmont Park.

Papers formalised the sale just days after WA Liberal Premier Colin Barnett toured Belmont Park to discuss plans to turn the racecourse into a new sports stadium.

The timing of the sale, so soon after Barnett’s tour of Belmont on Wednesday, was described by racing sources as “pure coincidence” despite the fact negotiations with Golden River started in September 2009.

The Premier’s office declined to comment on the deal other than to say Wednesday’s meeting at Belmont was informal.

“It will give financial security to the racing industry,” Perth Racing chairman Ted van Heemst said.  “We will get a chunk of money up front and an income stream as the development goes ahead.”

van Heemst said building could begin in about two years with completion of the final stage within 10 to 12 years.  He would not be drawn on how much money Perth Racing would make out of the deal.

The development plan involves two clusters of towers on land to the west and east of the racecourse, with a low-rise development wrapping around its north-east flank.