Daytona Int'l Speedway has taken the first step toward a major redevelopment of the 53-year-old facility, filing paperwork with city and hiring an architect. The steps are the first in a six- to eight-month process that could result in an overhaul of the speedway's grandstand, the addition of new suites, the creation of a modern exterior, a redesigned midway and more. DIS President Joie Chitwood said, "We have elements that are original to (the speedway's) first year. As we continue to be the world center of racing, we have to look at what's next. That's the important element now: what can Daytona be for the next 50 years?" ISC, which owns DIS, on Thursday filed paperwork asking the city of Daytona Beach to rezone the speedway so that it could undertake the redevelopment effort. The speedway currently is zoned as a major sports district and is seeking approval to become a "plan master development" zone, which would allow it to develop anything from retail space to dining facilities to a museum. Chitwood said that the redevelopment at the speedway would be separate from ISC's Daytona Live! Project, which calls for the development of a hotel, theater and residential housing across the street from the speedway. He added: "We filed (the zoning requests) separately, but you'd hope there would be synergy between the two projects." DIS' zoning request will need approval from the city, the planning commission and the city council. Chitwood said that could take anywhere from six to eight months. If the city rezones the facility, he will then have to go to ISC's board and secure capital for redevelopment. Chitwood said he does not know if they will seek municipal funding or not, as well.
ARCHITECTURE FIRM HIRED: In addition to filing paperwork to be rezoned, DIS two months ago hired Rossetti, the Michigan-based architecture firm that designed the Ford Field and Red Bull Arena, to assist it with the redevelopment project. The firm has not done any creative work to date but has brought Chitwood and others up to speed on amenities being added at other sports facilities and discussed possibilities for DIS. Chitwood said, "The minute I get a mock-up and creative, I'm going to show it to the world." The last major renovation done at the speedway took place in '04, when DIS undertook a multi-million-dollar overhaul of its infield, adding the Sprint FanZone, new garages and the Daytona 500 Club.