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Plans approved for hotel at racetrack

January 10, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County planning officials Tuesday night approved plans for Charles Town Races & Slots' first hotel, a 150-room facility that will overlook the oval.

The hotel will be built near a new entrance for the track along East Washington Street, said John Finamore, senior vice president of regional operations for Penn National Gaming Inc., which owns the track.

Track owners filed plans for the hotel last year and the Jefferson County Planning Commission on Tuesday night approved a site plan and an improvement location permit for the hotel.

The track may now proceed with construction, although it cannot occupy the hotel until the track completes a new sewage treatment plant on its property, said Randy Kepler of Greenway Engineering, which is working on the project.

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The cost of construction was estimated previously to be about $18 million, Finamore said.

Finamore said it is unclear when construction will start. It will take about a year to build, track officials have said.

Track officials said that the four-story hotel, to be known as The Inn at Charles Town, will include an indoor swimming pool, a small workout room, and conference and meeting space.

There is a lack of motel space in Jefferson County, a situation illustrated constantly at the track, Finamore said.

The first question patrons usually ask track employees when they arrive is how to get to the track's hotel, Finamore said.

When they learn there is no hotel on the property, they often go home or have to stay in motels in Martinsburg, W.Va., or Winchester, Va., when local motels fill up, Finamore said.

Track officials have also said they will build a 500-room hotel on their property if casino table games are added to the track.

Table games are expected to be considered in the state Legislature, which begins today.

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