€4m facelift to transform facilities at Leopardstown
The famous grandstand at Leopardstown Racecourse is to undergo a multi-million euro overhaul.
"It's exactly as it was 40 years ago and it is in bad need of a good makeover," Pat Keogh, the racing venue's chief executive, told the Herald.
Level two of the grandstand and Fillies Bar are to be redeveloped under the plan and the escalators and staircase will be transformed with clear glass balustrades with the walls being clad with either oak or quartz.
Mr Keogh explained that the makeover is part of a full renovation of the racecourse that will be completed by 2017.
"It's to bring it up to international standards, if you take the Aviva or Croke Park or Ascot - it needs to be at that standard. It is an international sporting facility," he said.
Last year €3.5m was spent on the top floor of the grandstand and this latest set of works will cost "in the region of €4m".
Work will begin in 2015 and last between five to six months with Mr Keogh saying that the facility needs to be "mindful" of the 23 race meetings throughout the year.
The Silken Glider restaurant, Jodami bar and the Members' bar will all benefit from the refurbishment works.
New TVs will be installed on the second level so that racegoers can be kept abreast of the bets. A public address system will also be installed here too.
Fillies Bar will get a total refit.
No planning permission was needed for phase two of the racecourse's refurbishment because it is a redevelopment of an existing space.
However, the third stage will need planning permission and that will be applied for in early 2015. It is hoped that work can start in 2016.
A behind-the-scenes tour has just started at the racecourse and will run on race days. The number of racegoers attending the south-Dublin track this year is on course to be up 10pc on 2013, with 160,000 people expected to have attended meets there by the end of December.