HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) — In 1991, St. Croix Meadows was a sure bet to bring money and jobs into the greater Hudson area.
But just one decade later, greyhound racing was all but dead — killed off by the lure of gamblers to casinos.
Ever since closing down in 2001, the $40-million racetrack sat vacant. Efforts to sell the property went nowhere. So it is understandable when Hudson Mayor Rich O’Connor expressed his excitement.
“I am ecstatic about what is going on here,” O’Connor said.
Woodbury developer Hudson Gateway, LLC is tearing the park down to make way for a mixed-use development. It is an investment of somewhere between $175 and $225 million.
Architectural drawings show plans for corporate offices and condos, restaurants, a hotel, convention center and even a ballpark — the home field for the expansion Northwoods League’s St. Croix River Hounds.
Demolition of the dog track clubhouse and kennels is expected to be completed in the next two weeks. That means construction of phase one will begin later this summer.
Developer Klint Klaas expects to announce the signing of the project’s anchor tenant in the coming weeks. Ultimately, Mayor O’Connor expects the entire development to grow 1,000 new jobs.
“It has been vacant for 18 years and it is one of the things I campaigned on, getting it productive again, getting it on the tax rolls,” O’Connor said.
The gamble that did not pay off with pari-mutuel betting should spread the wealth among the city’s taxpayers. When fully built in three years, the new St. Croix Meadows is projected to put $1 million in new tax revenue into the city’s coffers.