Suffolk Downs apparently has been removed from the Boston 2024 Partnership’s backup plan for an Olympics stadium site.
The horse track property, roughly 150 acres that straddle the East Boston and Revere line, was initially listed in bid documents for the 2024 Summer Games as a backup site for the stadium, if Widett Circle doesn’t work.
The organizers behind the effort to bring the Olympics to Boston want a 60,000-seat temporary Olympic stadium to be built at Widett Circle, an industrial area near Andrew Square and the Southeast Expressway. But that option comes with several complications, including finding a new home for the food wholesalers there.
Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer at Suffolk Downs, said he was told by reps for Boston 2024 last month that the group was no longer looking at Suffolk as an alternative for an Olympics stadium. However, Tuttle said the group was interested in putting a velodrome for cycling races there or at the old Wonderland greyhound track property in Revere that Suffolk’s ownership controls.
But Tuttle said the owners don’t believe a velodrome would fit into their plans for either property. (The original bid book, made public in January, put the velodrome in Somerville but Mayor Joe Curtatone almost immediately criticized the idea.)
“While we’re supportive of Boston 2024, we’re not interested in a velodrome at this point,” Tuttle said. “It doesn’t appear that we’re a match for what they’re looking for.”
When asked about Suffolk Downs, a Boston 2024 representative said the group plans to make additional venue announcements throughout the month of June and will confirm those venues once they are finalized.
Suffolk Downs originally planned to close down permanently for horse racing last fall after losing the competition for the sole Boston-area casino license, to a property in Everett that Wynn Resorts wants to develop. But the track facility remains open for simulcasting, and the state gaming commission is considering a plan to host three horse races there this summer. These are just interim uses: After losing the casino competition, Suffolk’s owners are now pursuing long-term development options for the property.