SBD/November 2, 2011/Facilities

Permits Issued Last Week Allow Construction Of Circuit Of The Americas To Begin

The 3.4-mile circuit scheduled to host its inaugural F1 U.S. Grand Prix Nov. 18, 2013
The Circuit of the Americas in Austin “has received permits from Travis County to begin above-ground construction on five significant buildings, including the main grandstand for the track,” according to John Maher of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. County officials issued permits last Friday “authorizing construction of the grandstand, the pit building and the teams building at the $300 million racetrack.” Travis County Senior Engineer Teresa Calkins said that the county “also approved construction of the track's media center and medical building.” The 3.4-mile circuit “is scheduled to host its inaugural Formula One U.S. Grand Prix on Nov. 18 of next year.” F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone said that he “didn't think Austin developers were struggling to build the track.” But he added, "We can have (the race) next year or the year after. … It is not the end of the world" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/2).

UPSET INVESTORS: In London, Tom Cary reports investors who were involved in the bidding process to develop Silverstone race track “are unhappy at the way in which the Alpha Group … leapt to the front of the queue in the summer” to purchase the facility. There is “particular concern over an alleged non-refundable payment of [US$1.6M] to the British Racing Drivers’ Club, Silverstone’s owners, as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ to secure and facilitate the position of exclusivity and preferred bidder status for the 150-year lease.” It is understood that four bids “had been shortlisted by the BRDC following the start of the bidding process some 15 months ago.” However, in August “a letter was sent … stating that a fifth party had been identified and granted preferred bidder status.” Sources said that “a non-refundable deposit of [US$1.6M] was paid by the Alpha Group ‘as a gesture of goodwill’ to secure this privilege.” Cary notes a “deal is expected to be announced shortly” (London TELEGRAPH, 11/2).
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