Local group to buy Scarborough Downs, lease track to current owners

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Scarborough Downs is being purchased by a local holding group that includes two lifelong Scarborough residents, the group announced Thursday.

Scarborough-based Cross Roads Holdings is under contract to buy the 480-acre parcel at Scarborough Downs and lease the track to its existing owners.. The holding group’s management team includes William, Marc and Rocco Risbara III of Risbara Bros. and Peter and Richard Michaud, formerly of Michaud Distributors.

“As lifelong residents and business owners we believe Scarborough is the best town in Maine. We were raised here. We raised our kids here and we hope that our grandkids will be raised here too,” Rocco Risbara said in a statement. “We care about our town’s future and it would be a privilege for us to develop this land.”

The holding company is in the discovery phase of determining the best use for the property. The lease agreement with the current owners of the racetrack will allow Scarborough Downs to preserve 60 jobs, according to the purchase announcement. Cross Roads Holding currently is performing inspections and surveying the land and expects to close on the property in early 2018.

Scarborough Downs has hosted live races since 1950. The property has been for sale for years and several developers have shown interest in it, including a Massachusetts developer who previously had the property under contract.

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The property had been listed for $7.5 million. Thursday’s announcement did not include any details about the purchase price.

Stretching from Route 1 to Payne Road, near Exit 42 of the Maine Turnpike, Scarborough Downs is owned by Sharon Terry, widow of former owner Joe Ricci, and operated by her daughter Denise Terry.

Denise Terry of Scarborough Downs said her family and employees are excited to work with the “respected local business owners” who are buying the property.

“For years, we sought after prospective buyers that were connected to the community and willing to work toward the preservation of our heritage. The Risbara and Michaud families present a perfect match.”

Town Manager Tom Hall praised the deal.

“This team has a great track record and I”m confident they will have Scarborough’s best interest in mind as they redevelop this property,” Hall said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with them.”

 

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  • Thomas Knight

    It will be interesting to see what becomes of Maine’s harness racing industry with the loss of this track.