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Volume 26 No. 138
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NASCAR Partnering With Developer Hillwood To Repurpose Surplus Land

NASCAR has struck a significant new business deal with real estate developer Hillwood, as the sanctioning body reveals that it is looking to re-develop surplus land across its 13,000 owned acres throughout its portfolio of 13 sprawling tracks. News of the deal comes amid industry rumblings in recent months that track operators in the sport, including NASCAR, have been considering selling some venues. However, NASCAR is insisting that this deal is not about selling the tracks themselves. NASCAR tracks for years have been looking for ways to better utilize their massive venues, and this deal is a major new step in that process. NASCAR says that it will use Hillwood’s services across its 13 markets to "offer perspective across asset classes for every facility site, considering land not currently being used," with the goal to "create jobs and increase wealth in the communities where NASCAR operates." NASCAR is evaluating opportunities across properties in Charlotte, Chicago, Daytona, Des Moines, Detroit, Fontana, Homestead, K.C, Phoenix, Richmond and Talladega. THE DAILY is first reporting the deal, but Dallas-based Hillwood will announce it later today.

PERFECT PARTNERSHIP: Hillwood is owned by the Perot family, and company Chair Ross Perot Jr. in a statement said, "This is a great alignment of interests -- Hillwood has one of the largest banks of industrial property in the U.S., and NASCAR’s land portfolio will add numerous new locations that can immediately meet many of our customers' new facility requirements." NASCAR Exec Vice Chair Lesa France Kennedy in a statement added that NASCAR "engaged Hillwood, a well-capitalized privately owned firm, due to their established record of successful partnerships to develop transformational projects that add value." France Kennedy rarely makes public comments these days, underscoring the seriousness of the partnership. Hillwood says it is a leader in acquiring and developing properties across the U.S., Canada and Europe for industrial, commercial and residential projects -- and the company has been involved in sports deals before, including developing the Victory Park neighborhood in Dallas where American Airlines Center is located.

LOOKING AHEAD: Mixed-use projects could be part of what Hillwood will bring to tracks, with one example of an already-established project at a NASCAR track being the Hollywood Casino on the grounds of Kansas Speedway. That deal features a 50-50 revenue split between NASCAR and Penn National Gaming and consistently delivers millions of dollars in profit to NASCAR’s bottom line annually. Hillwood Senior VP & West Coast Dir John Magness will work with the company’s seven regional offices across the country to find the best uses for what NASCAR is calling its "surplus property." Tracks that have been mentioned in recent months as ones that NASCAR is particularly keen to re-develop include Auto Club Speedway near L.A. and Chicagoland Speedway. Speedway Motorsports is not part of the new NASCAR/Hillwood arrangement, but that operator also has been named in industry rumblings over the past two years as one to keep an eye on regarding major facility redevelopments.