SBJ/October 15-21, 2012/Facilities

Daytona hopes approval that will clear the way for renovation comes this week

Daytona International Speedway executives hope to receive final approval this week from the Daytona Beach City Commission for a rezoning request that could make it possible to begin a major renovation project in 2013 or 2014.

International Speedway Corp., which owns the 53-year-old racetrack, submitted a request last June that the city rezone the speedway from a major sports district to a “plan master development” zone, which would allow it to develop anything from retail space to dining facilities to a museum. The seven-member City Commission will vote on that request Wednesday. A majority vote in favor will allow ISC to move forward with plans for overhauling the speedway’s grandstand, adding new suites, creating a modern exterior and redesigning the midway.

“This should be a very routine situation because we’ve been working with city staff to get to this point,” said Daytona President Joie Chitwood III. “We hope that we will get approval. We think we’ve been able to resolve any concerns the city has had about the design and our plans. I feel really good about it.”

During the City Commission meeting this week, Chitwood; an attorney from Cobb Cole, the speedway’s property law firm; and members of the internal design team at ISC will be on hand to answer questions. The city’s planning board unanimously approved the rezoning request last month and the City Commission is expected to follow suit.

If the City Commission offers its approval, then Daytona officials will work with ISC’s internal design team and their outside architecture advisers Rossetti, the Michigan-based firm that designed Ford Field and Red Bull Arena, to finalize their redevelopment plans.

To date, Daytona has limited what it’s released about the renovation plans. The only thing it’s said publicly that it wants to change is the number of entrances to the facility. It currently has 17 gates, but it wants to cut that down to around five and sell cornerstone sponsorships for those gates.

After it has finalized the rest of its renovation plans, Chitwood said it will go to the ISC board for funding approval.

“To ask for something, we have to have a detailed plan — business plan, design plan,” Chitwood said. “It’s a process. We’re checking off the boxes as we go. We hope to get in front of the board in the near future.”

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