Piazza a hit with racegoers

The new piazza at Turffontein is a grand place to take in all the action of any major race meeting that will be run at the racecourse.

The new piazza at Turffontein is a grand place to take in all the action of any major race meeting that will be run at the racecourse.

The piazza, which is on the west side of the main grandstand and flows off the Silks Bingo Hall, went operational at the SA Classic race meeting last month and has proved an immediate hit with racegoers.

It's an exhilarating open area in which you can grab a table, sit back and soak up the excitement with live music on most race days. Racegoers have everything at their fingertips from betting windows to refreshments and a variety of fast-food vendors.

And for racegoers who prefer being indoors, there's a new Colorado King Betting Hall on the first level of the grandstand. There's ample seating, TV screens, tote betting windows and a plush bar.

The piazza and first-floor betting hall form part of phase one of horseracing and tote betting company Phumelela's exciting strategy to transform Turffontein into a multi-dimensional destination.

Turffontein, Phumelela's flagship racecourse, has two turf racing surfaces and more than 60 race meetings that are held annually at the venue, which is in the south of Johannesburg, a few minutes from the CBD.

Phase one of the redevelopment began towards the end of last year. In addition to the piazza and betting hall, a central kitchen underneath the grandstand has been constructed at a cost of R8million. This kitchen serves all satellite kitchens at Turffontein, enhancing both the delivery and quality of food.

The security of the racecourse has been enhanced with the installation of beams throughout and surveillance cameras at selected points. A new pedestrian entrance at the main entrance off Turf Club Street has also been completed.

In terms of the long-term redevelopment of Turffontein into a multi-purpose destination, Phumelela commissioned urban design specialists GAPP to produce a proposal that will focus on coordinating existing and new projects into an overall spatial and implementation framework strategy.

It is hoped that night racing will be launched at Turffontein by November.

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