SBD/August 21, 2012/Facilities

Daytona Int'l Speedway Seeking Local Approval For Track Changes, Entertainment Complex

The speedway hopes to create a racing and entertainment complex outside the track
Daytona Int'l Speedway's rezoning requests "make up a massive development on 663 acres and, if approved at all the government meetings over the next few months, will clear the way for Daytona International Speedway to create a racing and entertainment complex unlike anything Daytona Beach has ever seen," according to a front-page piece by Eileen Zaffiro-Kean of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. DIS "could one day build a combined 2 million square feet of retail space, 1,785 hotel rooms and 1,600 multi-family residential units on its land straddling International Speedway Boulevard." Casino gambling "also could be added, if it's legalized in Florida." DIS officials on Thursday "will ask the city's Planning Board to approve changes at the racetrack that would include redesigning the grandstands to create a more modern stadium appearance." Although the city "has zoning authority over the Speedway's properties, the Volusia County Council also will discuss the request at its meeting Thursday." The county "owns most of the racetrack property and is in a lease agreement with the Speedway that expires in 2054." DIS President Joie Chitwood yesterday said that "there is no timeline for the Speedway improvements," but he indicated that "some of the plans could be put in motion in the next few years." His plan proposes "aesthetic changes to the track's exterior, front-stretch grandstands and entry points." Chitwood "wants to install a new 'skin' on the exterior of the Speedway to create a modern stadium appearance and a new front-stretch grandstand 'to pay homage to racing history.'" Daytona Beach Deputy City Manager Paul McKitrick said that the rebuilding of the north side grandstands "could start in about a year and possibly be completed in about three years." City Planner Rich Walton said that the Speedway "has discussed creating five new track entrances with sponsors such as Pepsi or Sprint that could have their own vendors set up just inside" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 8/21). The track in June took the first step toward a major redevelopment by filing paperwork with city and hiring an architect.
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