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Volume 24 No. 115


Buried in the 154-page deal reached by Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff was a "section renewing 31 business tax extenders, including a seven-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes," according to a front-page piece by Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. The extension allows car, truck and motorcycle racing facilities across the nation to "continue fully depreciating new capital assets" over seven years. ISC Senior VP & CFO Dan Houser yesterday said it is a "very positive development," especially given the proposed changes to ISC-owned Daytona Int'l Speedway. DIS officials last year "announced plans for a massive renovation and expansion on their 663-acre complex, including the demolition and reconstruction of the grandstands, and an entertainment complex that could include up to 2 million square feet of retail space, nightclubs and movie theaters." The measure "helps keep ISC's plans on track, lessening the upfront tax hit of new construction." U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who has "actively campaigned against U.S. military spending on sponsorships for NASCAR and other professional sports, was not happy to see the motorsports extension included." Houser said that the "national news media, bloggers and others misrepresent the legislation by dubbing it 'the NASCAR tax break.'" He added, "It doesn't impact NASCAR's taxes one way or the other." Houser said that ISC "anticipates increasing its planned investment in capital facilities by 25 percent or more on an annual basis over the next five years, from roughly $80 million a year to as much as $120 million a year." He added that the measure "helps level the playing field for motorsports, which compete for entertainment dollars with professional ball teams that often operate in facilities financed with tax dollars" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 1/3).

Iron workers at Barclays Center have "replaced hundreds of bolts that anchor the panels" to the building’s structure after engineers determined that "weaker ones were originally installed, raising concerns about the structure’s integrity," according to Charles Bagli of the N.Y. TIMES. After examining "every joint, engineers determined that only 8 percent of the 23,351 weaker bolts needed to be replaced." But the issue has "led to questions about communications between regulators and the arena’s developer, Forest City Ratner." The N.Y. Buildings Department said that its inspectors "had not been told about the problem with the bolts." Forest City Ratner Exec VP/Construction Robert Sana "played down the problem." He said that such issues "were not unusual during a major construction project, particularly one with highly customized architecture." But Sana added that the "result was worth it." Bagli noted in addition to issues with the bolts, the "fabricator for the 12,000 steel panels -- no two alike -- abruptly shut down midway through the job," and the panels have "occasionally dripped rusty orange blossoms onto the sidewalk." But the panels eventually "will stop rusting and workers will use power washers to remove all traces of metal from the sidewalks" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/1).