Populous and Churchill Downs have unveiled the new $90 million First Turn experience as part of a multi-phase transformation underway at the Louisville racetrack.
Home to the Kentucky Derby, which attracts approximately 150,000 guests annually, Churchill Downs and Populous are working on a series of enhancements. The new First Turn Club and its grandstand will include a 5,100-seat stadium experience and an integrated club space below for up to 2,000 guests.
The First Turn experience includes a 360-degree wraparound LED screen that’s visible from any vantage point. Additional monitors are positioned throughout the space, while a glass front offers sight lines to the track’s first turn.
Populous has been involved in numerous hospitality projects at Churchill Downs over the past decade. The final phase of the renovations will include the reconstruction of the Churchill Downs paddock while restoring the historically significant Twin Spires. It is expected to be completed in 2024 ahead of the 150th Derby.
“Our long-term relationship with Churchill Downs, combined with our strong reputation as a trusted advisor on the most iconic venue designs in the world, has given us the incredible opportunity to implement a shared vision to enhance the race-day experience at this storied venue,” said Mason Paoli, principal at Populous. “From the materials and textures to the thoughtful layout and lighting, the First Turn experience is a seamless extension of the work we have done throughout our relationship with Churchill Downs and will provide enhanced and new experiences for guests.”