New ‘Elements’ for rebranded Fraser Downs casino and track (photos)

CLOVERDALE — Fraser Downs Racetrack & Casino is about to undergo one of the most significant transformations in its 40-year history.

Great Canadian Gaming Corp. will spend $11 million to renovate and rebrand the facility, to be known as Elements Casino come winter.

A 300-seat entertainment space, new dining options and an “enhanced gaming mix” are part of renovations already underway at the 56,000-square-foot casino and track.

Details of the redevelopment of “Surrey’s new entertainment destination” were made public on Wednesday morning (June 24).

By December, casino patrons will be able to play baccarat, blackjack, roulette, poker and one of the more than 550 slot machines. Standardbred and simulcast horse racing will continue, probably under the Fraser Downs name in some way.

“This will be a significant transformation of the property,” Michael Kim, Fraser Downs’ director of operations, told the Now.

“It’s definitely due for a refresh.”

A project “fact sheet” suggests that casino guests, upon arrival, “will be welcomed by the revitalized exterior, featuring open spaces and vibrant colours. The interior space will resemble a casual, upscale, modern and contemporary style. The use of natural wood, stone and tiles will create cohesive flow between spaces.”

The casino’s “Elements” name was decided upon with the help of focus groups and a branding agency, said Kim, who, prior to his arrival at Fraser Downs in January, helped Great Canadian’s Boulevard casino in Coquitlam become a Hard Rock property.

“We feel the Elements name, one of about 300 we had on a list, really encompasses everything the casino will be – all those elements, if you will, people expect in an all-inclusive entertainment venue,” Kim said.

Bands, comedians and other entertainers will perform in the 300-seat theatre space, Kim said.

“The number one comment we’ve received when talking about the changes is, people are very excited about the entertainment options we will have here. Currently, they say they visit other facilities because we don’t have live-entertainment options besides racing.”

New dining options at the casino will include a daily buffet, full-service lounge and “grab and go” food outlets.

The casino and track currently employs close to 320 people during racing season, which runs from October to April, and close to 300 people during the spring and summer months. Another 70 to 80 people will be hired by the time the renovated casino opens this December, Kim said.

"Every department of ours will be hiring," he said. "With the name release happening (today), we’ll be working on those employment opportunities, perhaps with a hiring fair, social media campaigns and also on our website."

Nearby Cloverdale Fairgrounds is also due for some kind of redevelopment, with the City of Surrey City working on new plan for the land. The city council is now embarking upon a "visioning" exercise to firm up new plans for the fairgrounds, in the hopes of attracting investment from the private sector and senior levels of government and, ultimately, action on the site.

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

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