Frank Stronach will be paying $126 million to buy the Santa Anita racetrack, according to an agreement to purchase that has been signed by the Canadian industrialist's auto-parts manufacturing company.
Stronach, who heads Magna International Inc., a company that does business in 16 countries, said last week that he expects the closing on Santa Anita to be completed on Dec. 15.
Santa Anita is being sold by the Meditrust Cos., a Massachusetts real estate investment trust that bought the Arcadia track and other properties in a $458-million deal in November 1997. Meditrust, heavy with debt and its stock price down by more than 50% in the last year, is in the midst of a widespread restructuring program.
According to documents that Meditrust filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company paid $175.5 million for Santa Anita and the land around it. That amount did not include Meditrust's purchases of the Santa Anita Fashion Park and a medical office building in Arcadia, properties that will not be part of the sale to Stronach.
Meditrust spent about $12 million on improvements at Santa Anita--$5 million on the stable area and $7 million on the main plant. In its only season under the Meditrust ownership, Santa Anita posted a small gain in on-track attendance during an 86-day meeting that was marred by 31 inches of rain. On-track betting dropped 1.3% but the overall handle increased 6.6%.
Stronach said that more improvements would be needed at Santa Anita. Through MI Developments, the real estate arm of Magna International, he is buying Santa Anita and the 305 acres that surround it.
Stronach, 66, is a horse breeder and owner with farms in Canada, Kentucky and Florida. His Awesome Again won the $4.6-million Breeders' Cup Classic, the world's richest race, at Churchill Downs on Nov. 7.