Hotel proposed at edge of Delaware Park property

A hotel has been proposed on the edge of the  Delaware Park complex.

Blenheim Hotels and Delaware Racing Association (Delaware Park)  are listed as the developers of the project that lists 110,000 square feet of space and 135 rooms.

Blenheim is a regional hotel operator.

The Newark Post reported the hotel would carry the Homewood Suites brand of Hilton.

A letter accompanying New Castle County land use filings stated that the hotel would be built near the Fairplay rail station at the edge of the  Delaware Park property and near the end of Churchmans Road in the Stanton-Christiana area south of  Newark. 

The hotel will face an approval process from the county that includes a traffic study. It is also in an area that has seen new hotels in recent years.  The area is close to a number of employment sites and Christiana Hospital. 

The Fairplay rail station serves riders of SEPTA trains into Wilmington and Philadelphia and appears to be in need of expansion with overflow parking on many days.

There have been hopes over the years that a hotel would be built adjacent to the casino/grandstand at Delaware Park.

Delaware Park also offers thoroughbred racing at the property owned by the Rickman family of the Washington, DC area and before that the duPont family.

The Rickmans profited from the early adoption of slot machines in Delaware but did not build a destination casino complex like Dover Downs. Instead, the casino serves the locals market in the county.

When Maryland authorized gaming, the Rickman family bought Ocean Downs near Ocean City, MD, but later sold the venue to Churchill Downs, best known as the site of the Kentucky Derby.

Instead, Delaware Park snapped up the former New Castle County  Engineering Building as an administrative site and a Radisson hotel off Interstate 95 in the New Castle area that had been shut down by New Castle County after it was found to be larger than authorized.

Also added at Delaware Park was a public golf course and clubhouse/restaurant.

The hotel was never developed by Delaware Park and was instead sold to a regional hotel chain.  It is now a Sheraton Hotel.

Delaware Park, like the state’s three other “racinos” has suffered from increased competition from Pennsylvania and Maryland. That has reduced purses for racing and revenue from slots and table games.

Hotel operators in the area of Delaware Park have reported fewer visitors staying over during visits to the casino as competition intensified.

The gaming industry has gone to the General Assembly to get relief from a lower state “take” on revenues. Those efforts have gone nowhere as the state faces progressively larger budget gaps.

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