SBJ/May 28 - June 3, 2007/SBJ In Depth

Speedway aims to be year-round destination

As vacationers speed down International Speedway Boulevard toward Daytona Beach, they see the iconic and monstrous speedway on one side of the road and a series of strip shopping centers on the other.

Daytona Live! is a $250 million mixed-use development
planned across from the speedway.

Given the lure of the sand and surf, the fairly nondescript retail offerings and office buildings across from the speedway hardly inspire dad to slam the brakes on the minivan.

But The Cordish Co. and International Speedway Corp., which owns Daytona International Speedway, hope their newest project will offer everyone from beach bums to race fans an alternative form of entertainment and leisure.

Cordish and ISC recently said they’ve formed a 50-50 partnership to create Daytona Live!, a $250 million mixed-use development on 71 acres across from the speedway. It will include everything from condominiums and townhomes to 200,000 square feet of retail and dining, a 2,500-seat multiscreen theater and a 160-room hotel. NASCAR and ISC offices also are expected to go in the development, which is expected to open in 2009.

The speedway will anchor it all.

“What you’ve got is a major attraction that’s already established and often is underutilized,” Joe Weinberg, principal at Cordish, said of sports facilities in general. “What we’re doing is turning them into 365-day-a-year attractions and complementing the sports with leisure, entertainment and commercial development.”

While Cordish, which also owns the license to build NASCAR Sports Grille restaurants, has executed similar projects around Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Daytona Live! will be its first project around a racetrack.

Daytona Live! is the latest example of how racetracks are luring development. Concord Mills, a 1.4 million-square-foot mall, opened in 1999 just a couple of miles from Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and with it has come additional retail, hotel and resort development on Speedway Boulevard.

Village West at Kansas Speedway offers more than 1 million square feet of retail space. Ground will be broken this year for a waterpark and another 500,000 square feet of retail space.

“I was born and raised in Kansas and the largest tourism draw used to be pheasant hunting,” said Jeff Boerger, president at Kansas Speedway. “Now we’ve truly become a destination.

“I hear from a lot of track promoters that they’re starting to think this way. They look at Kansas and they think about the best way to maximize their space. And it’s helped us sell tickets. We have one of the highest season-ticket renewal rates of all the ISC tracks.”

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