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Could a theme park take the place of Macao’s soon-to-be defunct racetrack?

In a city stretched for space, the future of this sizable tract of land will come under careful consideration, with the government already ruling out more casinos.

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Less than 1 minute Minutes

The government will not preserve the racetrack and stables at the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) for any potential resumption of horse racing in Macao, the Portuguese-language newspaper Ponto Final reports.

Debate on the future use of the land in Taipa is mounting in the wake of this week’s news that the authorities have cancelled their contract with the debt-saddled MJC, which is to close in April.

The construction of more casinos on the site has also been ruled out and the building of housing is unlikely, given that the land remains zoned for tourism and leisure under the city’s master plan.

According to Ponto Final, the Macau Economic Association has proposed building a theme park on the site. The association’s vice-president, Henry Lei, said he believed such a park should feature “Chinese and Portuguese cultural characteristics [to] differentiate from neighbouring regions.”

[See more: Five things you may not know about the history of the Macau Jockey Club]

Lei said that a theme park would blend in well with the surrounding area’s entertainment and sports facilities, as well as hotels. He added that it could help transform Macao into “a base for cultural exchange”.

Meanwhile, local architect Rui Leão told TDM that the site should be reserved as the future “lungs” of Taipa. He hoped it would remain a green, open space and opposed erecting buildings on it.

The land in question currently contains an oval-shaped racetrack with a one-mile (1.6 kilometre) circumference, 14 stable blocks with the capacity to house almost 2,000 horses, along other facilities, according to the MJC’s website.

The MJC is set to cease operations on 1 April, after more than 40 years of horse racing in Macao. Years of financial struggles and waning appeal with visitors and the public led the government to end the club’s concession.

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