The state on Thursday announced that the U.S. Equestrian Federation has signed a 40-year lease to stay at Kentucky Horse Park. Last year, the group signed a letter of intent, announced by Kentucky Horse Park Commission chair Tandy Patrick.
The deal means U.S. Equestrian, which is the governing body for most horse sports, including the Olympic disciplines, will build a new 35,000-square-foot office building on three acres to replace the existing headquarters building at the park. No financial details of the deal were released.
The new deal, which includes an option for another 40-year extension on the lease, will save U.S. Equestrian money that can be put into other programs. Last year, U.S. Equestrian President Murray Kessler said the lease on the existing building was well above market rate, costing members “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year” more.
“This building will help us to bring the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible by providing a considerable cost savings for our members,” Kessler said in the news release Thursday. “At the same time, it will create a more efficient and effective environment for our staff to support its membership.”
U.S. Equestrian will pay for the construction and all permits, but the horse park and the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will have approval over the exterior design of the new building before construction.
“U.S. Equestrian’s decision to remain at the park’s National Horse Center is a confirmation that they are confident in, and dedicated to, Kentucky’s role in equestrian sport,” said Laura Prewitt, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park.
The state hailed the extension as a way to retain a key tenant, whose lease had been set to expire in 2019.
“U.S. Equestrian is the anchor for many other industry-related businesses at the park, said Don Parkinson, secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, in the release. “This long-term partnership with U.S. Equestrian reflects and strengthens Kentucky’s dedication not only to our equine industry but also to the diverse and growing segments of horse sport.”
About 30 equine-related organizations are at the park, including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the U.S. Pony Club and the U.S. Dressage Federation, who have all built custom offices. The U.S.E.F’s existing 25,000-square-foot building will be leased to new tenants.
“Given the park’s outstanding facilities and U.S. Equestrian’s position as the governing body for horse sport in the United States, it is mutually beneficial to have this organization headquartered at the park’s National Horse Center,” Patrick said.