Longchamp's stand will be replaced after the 2014 Arc in time for 2016PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Longchamp new stand plans given green light
THE LAST major obstacle to the redevelopment of Longchamp has been removed after Paris city council voted to accept proposals for France Galop to extend its lease for the 55-hectare site until 2056.
The deal paves the way for the demolition of the 1960s main grandstand after the 2014 Arc, with France Galop due to receive the keys to the state-ofthe-art facility in time for the 2016 contest.
No official announcement has been made about the 2015 running of Europe's richest race, although it is widely expected Chantilly will be used.
The plan for the 'new Longchamp,' with a grandstand and weighing room designed by the internationally renowned Dominique Perrault Architecture practice, was initially selected from a shortlist of six in September 2011.
However, France Galop, which will foot the €108 million bill for the project, has had to conduct lengthy negotiations with Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe's administration over the details of a new lease, which also covers the city's main jumping venue Auteuil.
In 2012 French racing's governors paid a little over €8m in annual costs to the city for the use of Longchamp and Auteuil. This figure will climb to €8.37m next year, with a further rise to €8.87m in 2016, when the racecourse will again be operational.
The existing turf courses will not be relaid, as was the case when Ascot was redeveloped, but the racing calendar at Longchamp will be significantly extended by the addition of an all-weather track.