The Saratoga Casino and Raceway is refurbishing and reopening The Lodge, an iconic venue behind its main gaming facility, just in time for the summer race meet in Saratoga Springs.
The historic building was constructed at the turn of the last century as a residence for Harry Payne Whitney, member of the prominent Whitney family and father to Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. In recent years, the facility at the corner of Nelson and Crescent avenues has housed Siro’s Trattoria, an offshoot of Siro’s Restaurant.
Starting July 24, the opening day of the Saratoga Race Course, the facility will open as a private event venue. It will host private parties, weddings and other events, but will open to the public at 5 p.m. for cocktails on all race days throughout the summer meet.
“Restoring this historic space is truly an honor for us,” said Colleen Carlson, director of sales at Saratoga Casino and Raceway, in a news release. “The Lodge holds a special place in the history of Saratoga Springs and we are delighted to be able to open it to our guests during the summer meet as well as for distinctive events year-round.”
The space will also receive renovations in the coming weeks.
“The entire space is getting refreshed,” said spokeswoman Rita Cox. “We’re giving it new paint both inside and out, and new artwork. The idea is to give it a fresh look.”
The Lodge can accommodate parties of up to 100, but with an outdoor tent it can accommodate up to 200 guests. The first private event has already been booked — a fundraiser for the Daniel Pitino Foundation on Aug. 3.
The venue has had a series of different operators over the years, including the Saratoga Casino and Raceway, which has periodically leased it out to others.
In 2011, it leased the space to Racing Restaurants of America, an investment group that had bought Siro’s a year earlier and opened an offshoot of the famous restaurant inside The Lodge that would open each summer during track season. In 2013, that investment group assigned all of its rights, title and interest in its lease to Lodge Lease Holding LLC.
Saratoga Casino and Raceway terminated the restaurant’s lease earlier this year and locked the tenant out after it failed to pay outstanding rent and utility bills worth nearly $67,000, according to a lawsuit filed in Saratoga County Supreme Court this April. That money has yet to be repaid, Cox said.
“We continue to pursue remedies to get paid,” she said.
Now that the Raceway has resumed operations of The Lodge, it will keep the facility open year-round for events, she said.
Anyone who is interested in booking an event should visit www.saratogacasino.com/Groups/TheLodge.aspx or contact Colleen Carlson at 581-5750 or [email protected]