SANTA ANITA RACETRACK
The Conservancy has worked to preserve the historic Santa Anita Racetrack since 1999. That was when owner Frank Stronach erected large elevator towers that dramatically altered the racetrack’s façade, as well as a new restaurant in the historic grandstand, without submitting the project for appropriate public review.
Most recently, the Conservancy responded to a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on developer Rick Caruso’s proposed retail/entertainment project at the property’s south parking lot.
In addition to its architectural significance, shaped by noted architect Gordon Kaufmann, and its associations with racing history, Santa Anita was the largest Assembly Center for the Japanese-American internment in World War II.
About 20,000 Japanese-Americans lived at the racetrack during 1942, in temporary housing in the stable area and in barracks constructed on the site’s parking lot. The racetrack was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
In April 2007, the Arcadia City Council approved a plan to develop a 830,000-square-foot commercial, retail, and office project on the south parking lot of the racetrack. The Conservancy is particularly concerned about the potential demolition of the property’s 1938 Saddling Barn and South Ticket Gate.
The Conservancy has asked developer Caruso to examine alternatives to this plan, as well as ways to reverse the inappropriate 1999 elevator tower additions.