Former New York NASCAR track site being prepared for development: Staten Island (NY) Marine Development's (SIMD) large expanse of industrial-zoned land in the West Shore Green Zone -- formerly earmarked for an 82,500-seat NASCAR racetrack before it was derailed by public skepticism and political opposition -- is being prepared for development. And even before the 671 acres -- of which 330 acres will be developed -- is fully ready for construction, real estate moguls are eyeing the site to lure big box and manufacturing industry to the borough.(Staten Island Live)(1-25-2015)
Work to begin on former NASCAR property in New York: The company responsible for transforming an idle industrial property into a thriving marine port says it will soon begin the first part of a lengthy construction process. The effort involves collecting and spreading an estimated 4.3 million cubic yards of clean fill material across portions of a 676-acre site in Bloomfield that was once expected to be a NASCAR arena. The process to erect a surface cover over most of the property will be the first part of a three-phase project and is expected to take at least three years. The location, now referred to by SIMD as the 380 Development Site, previously housed the GATX petroleum storage facility.(Staten Island Advance)(12-22-2013)
ISC sells Staten Island property: International Speedway Corporation announced that it sold its 676-acre parcel of property located in Staten Island, New York, to Staten Island Marine Development, LLC. Marine Development purchased 100 percent of the outstanding equity membership interests of 380 Development LLC, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of ISC and owner of the Staten Island property, for a total sales price of $80.0 million. The Company, as a result of the sale, expects to receive a cash tax benefit of approximately $41.5 million, based on its current corporate tax rate, that combined with the net proceeds will provide ISC with approximately $117.7 million in incremental cash flow. In addition to the sale proceeds, ISC has already received $4.2 million in non-refundable payments from Marine Development to have had the exclusive negotiation rights for the Staten Island property. ISC received $7.5 million of the purchase price at closing. The remaining purchase price will be financed with the Company holding a secured mortgage interest in 380 Development as well as the underlying property.(ISC)(8-6-2013)
NASCAR track site on Staten Island has new suitor: International Speedway Corp. is in "exclusive negotiations" with a potential buyer for the property where it hoped to build an 80,000-seat NASCAR track, according to its most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Those documents don't name a buyer or a commitment of sale. But a report in the Daytona Beach News-Journal -- ISC is headquarted in the Florida city -- said the interested party is looking to turn the site into a deep water port logistics operation. "We're cautiously optimistic," Dan Houser, ISC's senior vice president and chief financial officer, told the Beach News-Journal.
Despite the information already publicly available, ISC spokesman Charles N. Talbert declined comment when contacted by the Advance. "I appreciate your interest in our property," Talbert wrote in an e-mail. "At this time, we do not have anything to add to the disclosure that is included in our public filings."(Staten Island Advance )(2-11-2013)
RPM owner still looking to bring NASCAR to NYC: Andrew Murstein made the roughly two-hour drive from New York City to Pocono Raceway for this Sunday's 5-Hour Energy 500 without complaint. But he is trying to revive interest in having NASCAR build a track so some day he can watch a race live without having to venture far from the heart of America's largest city. Murstein, who along with investor Douglas Bergeron purchased more than a 50% interest in Richard Petty Motorsports last November, said Saturday that he believes he could help such a venture succeed where previously similar efforts have failed. Asked how important Sunday's race that Pocono hosts is to the New York market, Murstein replied: "It's pretty important. Obviously it's the track that's closest to New York City. One of the things I'm talking to people back in New York City about -- in the really early stages -- is putting a track one day in New York City. Therefore, the people follow this to find out how well it does and how the fans turn out. I hope one day there is a track in New York City, because between that and Pocono, it would be great for the sport." Murstein, who is founder, president, board member and largest shareholder of Medallion Financial Corp., said he has opened preliminary discussions about the possibility with NASCAR as well as current and former New York state government officials. "I called NASCAR and said, 'Do you have any interest in looking at something for New York City?' And they said, 'Eventually.' But it's not at the top of their list," Murstein said.(NASCAR.com)(6-12-2011)
New RPM owner wants to build race track in New York: Now that the president of Medallion Financial Corp., Taxi tycoon Andrew Murstein, has purchased NASCAR racing team Richard Petty Motorsports for less than $50 million, sources close to the situation tell us, Murstein intends to finally establish a track here [New York City area] and make New Yorkers fans of the supercharged sport. It's not a new idea. A company called International Speedway attempted to build a track on Staten Island earlier this decade, until opposition from nearby residents killed the project by 2007. The Medallion mogul's idea is to build the track to co-exist with horse racing at Aqueduct in Queens or at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. [New York Daily News] sources say he'll soon begin lobbying state and city officials. Even if local officials are receptive, Murstein could face a tough sell with the public. Though NASCAR is second only to NFL football in sports TV ratings, audiences have reportedly declined.(New York Daily News)(12-16-2010)
New York proposeed track location for sale again: The former NASCAR site is up for sale - again. International Speedway Corp. terminated an agreement with KB Marine Holdings yesterday after the Texas-based firm failed three times to complete the $88 million transaction for the 676-acre site in Bloomfield. The former NASCAR site in Bloomfield is the largest privately-owned piece of undeveloped industrial land in the city. The scuttled deal - the second since 2008 - places the largest privately owned piece of undeveloped industrial land in the city back on the market. ISC, whose plans to build an 82,500-seat racetrack here was derailed by public skepticism and political opposition, is pursuing "immediate discussions with alternative buyers." Last November, ISC announced it was in contract to sell the property to KB Marine for $80 million, nearly $30 million less than it paid to purchase the former oil tank farm in 2004. When KB Marine failed to close by Feb. 25, ISC renegotiated the deal for $88 million and set a new closing date of June 30. The deadline missed again, ISC extended it to Nov. 30. The deal was terminated when KB Marine, which paid ISC $1 million when the purchase was first announced, failed to close last week.(Staten Island Live)(12-9-2010)
Sale of Staten Island NASCAR site still not finalized: International Speedway Corp. still hasn’t closed on the sale of its former NASCAR site on the borough’s West Shore [Staten Island, NY]. The closing deadline was extended to Nov. 30 after KB Marine Holdings, a Texas-based company which purchases underutilized waterfront properties, missed two previous deadlines. ISC spokesman Charles Talbert told the News-Journal in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the race car company is based, that there was no update on the sale. Last year, ISC announced it was in contract to sell the 676-acre site in Bloomfield to KB Marine for $80 million, nearly 30 million less than it paid to purchase the former oil tank farm in 2004.
When KB Marine failed to close by Feb. 25, ISC renegotiated the deal for $88 million and set a new closing date of June 30, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That deadline was also missed and extended to Nov. 30. The site remains the largest privately owned piece of undeveloped land in the city.(SI Live)(12-6-2010)
ISC still hoping for Staten Island property sale: Daytona Beach-based International Speedway Corp. and KB Marine Holdings have extended their negotiations on the sale of ISC's Staten Island property. This is the second time the closing date for the deal has been extended, this time to Nov. 30, according to a news release from the companies on Sept. 7th. "Negotiations were still continuing," said Dan Houser, ISC chief financial officer. "We remain cautiously optimistic about this closing. The other party involved remains extremely interested in it. It's a great project, creating a deep-water harbor." KB is offering $88 million with $32.6 million payable in cash at closing and a $54.4 million promissory note payable by Aug. 31, 2011. The note will have a market-based interest rate. If the note isn't paid, the property could go back to ISC and the $32.6 million wouldn't be refunded. ISC doesn't expect the sale proceeds to result in a material gain or loss. The racetrack operator bought the Staten Island property in 2004 with hopes of building a track there, but it was opposed by community groups and government officials, and the company gave up on the plan.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(9-14-2010)
NASCAR At The Meadowlands?: On Friday [January 22nd], New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released 19 reports prepared by his Transition New Jersey subcommittees, including the report on Gaming, Sports, and Entertainments that included the New Jersey Sports & Exhibition Authority and the Meadowlands.
The report's Executive Summary on the NJSEA and horse racing at the Meadowlands is as follows: As budgeted for 2010, horseracing on track is projected to lose $22 million; the business model is broken. The agreements with the various Horsemen Associations will ensure continued losses; during 2010 these agreements need to be reopened and renegotiated. It is time to review options for racing in New Jersey. THE STATUS QUO IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. We encourage consideration of all the options to make horseracing self-sustaining, including consolidation of racing state-wide. The ultimate goal is to continue to have live racing at a venue where the Sports Authority and its OTW system can operate without a subsidy. (NJSEA budgeted total deficit for 2010 is $38 million). Another option to be considered is a feasibility study for the commercial redevelopment of the Meadowlands, including examining other potential uses such as NASCAR.(Standardbred Canada)(2-3-2010)
ISC close to selling Staten Island land UPDATE: International Speedway Corp is nearing a deal to sell 676 acres of land in Staten Island, New York, on which it had hoped to build a track, the race track owner's chief executive said on Wednesday. "We do have a sale that we do think will occur in the near future," CEO Lesa France Kennedy said in a telephone interview. "We have more details to work out."(Reuters)(10-24-2009)
UPDATE: International Speedway Corp. (ISC) has found a buyer willing to pay $80 million for more than 676 acres on the West Shore — the largest privately-owned piece of undeveloped industrial land in the city and the place where the race car company’s plans to build a NASCAR track crashed and burned. ISC announced this afternoon a deal to sell the land to KB Marine Holdings for $80 million — nearly $30 million less than ISC paid to buy and assemble the property, a former oil tank farm, back in 2004. KB Marine Holdings plans to use the property for port-related and warehousing uses, and was recently formed to acquire underused properties in port cities, a spokesman said. The preliminary details on the purchase agreement were released today and the deal is expected to close no later than Feb. 25. KB Marine Holdings put $1 million down on the deal. ISC dropped its race track proposal in 2006 in the face of mounting political opposition to the plan, and a deal in 2007 to sell the land to international warehouse developer ProLogis fell through.(Staten Island Live)(11-13-2009)
- Former ISC employees avoid prision time: Former International Speedway Corp. employees William Kilgannon and Todd Polakoff have avoided prison time for their roles in an extortion conspiracy in association with the failed attempt to put a race track on New York’s Staten Island. Polakoff was sentenced to three years probation, while Kilgannon got two years of supervised release, according to court documents. They were sentenced Dec. 12 in U.S. District Court in New York. Polakoff and Kilgannon were among 62 people indicted in February as part of a wide-ranging, 80-count federal indictment that targeted alleged Mafia members, including three high-ranking members of the Gambino crime family. Kilgannon and Polakoff were former employees of ISC subsidiary North American Testing Co., which handles design and construction for ISC.(see full story at SceneDaily)(1-3-2009)
- No NASCAR soon in N.J.: Though NASCAR has toyed with the idea of coming to the Meadowlands Sports Complex (NJ) for many years, chief executive officer Brian France downplayed that possibility on Tuesday. "I don’t know what the future will bring, but it’s not something we’re working on right now," France said at the Motorsports Marketing Forum, which takes place during the sport’s Championship Week ceremonies in Manhattan. A multiyear effort to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island failed in 2006, leaving the sports complex as a potential alternative to give the sport the New York City-area presence it openly desires. "The Meadowlands is a logical place, there just aren’t any opportunities there at this point," France said. New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority officials have discussed the idea of wrapping a racecar track around the Meadowlands’ horse racing facility. But France seemed skeptical that his sport could be accommodated at a 750-acre complex that also is home to the billion-dollar, under-construction Xanadu and football stadium projects. "We run out of space pretty quick when you look at the footprint we would need," France said. Sports authority chairman Carl Goldberg met with France’s sister, Lesa France Kennedy, in June 2007 to talk about a possible NASCAR track at the facility. But Goldberg said Tuesday that no recent talks have taken place. "We’ve always been excited about the prospect [of NASCAR], because we look to broaden the sports and entertainment offerings when we can," Goldberg said.(The Record)(12-4-2008)
- Second ex-ISC employee pleads guilty in extortion scheme: Todd Polakoff, a former International Speedway Corp. employee, has became the second of two former ISC employees to plead guilty to one count of extortion conspiracy in association with the failed attempt to put a race track on Staten Island. Polakoff will be sentenced Oct. 16 in U.S. District Court in New York, according to court records. He was scheduled to go to trial earlier this week. Polakoff and his supervisor, WIllilam Kilgannon, were among 62 people indicted in February as part of a wide-ranging, 80-count federal indictment that targeted alleged Mafia members, including three high-ranking members of the Gambino crime family. Kilgannon and Polakoff were former employees of ISC subsidiary North American Testing Co., which handles design and construction for ISC. Polakoff worked for NATC between November 2005 and December 2006 as a project manager on the Staten Island development project. Kilgannon worked as director of construction for NATC from May 2005 to December 2006 and was Polakoff's supervisor, according to ISC. Both Polakoff and Kilgannon pleaded guilty last week to the count accusing them of accepting a $9,000 check from the owner of a trucking company. Kilgannon will be sentenced Oct. 27.(SceneDaily.com)(8-17-2008)
- The Mob and the Staten Island racetrack: Authorities carried out one of the largest Mafia takedowns in recent memory today when they charged dozens of reputed members of the Gambino crime family with gangland crimes spanning three decades, -- including an extortion plot at the failed NASCAR track proposed for the Bloomfield section of Staten Island [NY]. A federal indictment in Brooklyn named 62 defendants, including the three highest-ranking members of the Gambino family along with the brother and nephew of the late Gotti. Authorities said a separate state investigation had resulted in charges against 26 others. Many of the charges relate to the activities of a Staten Island cement business, whose owner was identified in the indictment only as "John Doe No. 4." Prosecutors allege that mob figures extorted the owner for money and jobs, and interfered with several of his business ventures, including the proposed NASCAR track on Staten Island. In 2006, the cement business was forced to pay extortion to reputed mobsters to prepare the race track site for construction, court papers said. The project abandoned before the track could be built. As part of the scheme, mobsters allegedly forced John Doe No. 4 to give $9,000 to two workers affiliated with International Speedway Corp., builder of the race track. A company spokesman said today that the men have since quit their jobs, and that the indictment "is not directed at ISC, any of its subsidiaries, or any of its current employees."(Staten Island Advance)(2-8-2008)
- Despite failed deal, NASCAR still confident it will sell Staten Island site: While disappointed a $100 million deal to sell its former NASCAR site on Staten Island fell through, International Speedway Corp. officials remain confident they will sell the 676-acre piece -- and soon. Brian K. Wilson, ISC vice president of corporate development, said the racing company is looking for another buyer for the site in Bloomfield, after its deal with ProLogis, the world's largest developer of distribution warehouses, collapsed. Harris said there are no plans to revive the 82,500-seat race track proposal at the site. "We are still, of course, very interested in the metro New York area, but not in Staten Island," he said. Faced with political opposition, Daytona Beach-based ISC last year dropped its plans to build a NASCAR track and put the land up for sale. ProLogis planned to build an industrial park with 3.5 million square feet of warehouse space at site, which is located next to the West Shore Expressway. The deal was expected to close next month. ProLogis had a short term inspection period to conduct due diligence, and the company elected not to proceed with the sale under the terms of the agreement. Yesterday, a ProLogis spokeswoman declined to say what concerns came up during its due diligence phase, but said ProLogis remains "interested" in the site. After taxes and broker fees, ISC expected to net $100 million from the sale of the land to ProLogis. That's what ISC paid for the site when it purchased it back in 2004.(Staten Island Advance)(12-1-2007)
- Staten Island plot sold: Over on Staten Island, that plot of land that the France family’s International Speedway Corp. had hoped to build the New York City Speedway on will apparently become a huge trucking center. A company is buying it to build a 3.5-million square foot warehouse distribution center.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-17-2007)
- NASCAR to NJ? Meadowlands? plans revived: NASCAR's interest in building a racetrack in the Meadowlands is revving up again. Executives for International Speedway Corp. [ISC], held "informal preliminary discussions" recently with New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority Chairman Carl Goldberg, according to three sources familiar with the discussions. Goldberg and an ISC spokesman would not comment about the talks Tuesday. But details of the proposal already have begun to emerge: a 1.25-mile oval speedway to be constructed in a concentric ring around The Meadowlands Racetrack, the complex's horse racing facility. The sources said the track would fit into the site, even with the just-started construction of a $1.4 billion Giants/Jets football stadium between Giants Stadium and the racetrack. Other hurdles, however, mean that the proposal is a long way from becoming a reality. George Zoffinger, the sports authority president, said a local advisory committee appointed in 2002 to analyze potential development at the sports complex expressed clear opposition to NASCAR, a sport where races can draw 100,000 people on one summer weekend day. "[ISC] will have to be convincing in order to overcome noise and traffic issues, as well as community resistance, that have been apparent for quite a while," Zoffinger said. NASCAR also would need the approval of the Giants and Jets as well as Colony Capital, which is building the Xanadu retail and entertainment facility at the Continental Arena site. Xanadu and the Giants/Jets stadium joint venture have veto power over new development at the sports complex. But auto racing officials repeatedly have said they are determined to add the Big Apple market to their list of sites. Lesa France Kennedy, the president of ISC and the brother of NASCAR Chairman Brian France, said in December that the collapse of a two-year effort to build a track on Staten Island did not signal a withdrawal from an attempt to find a home for the sport in the metropolitan area.(more at: North Jersey.com and see a timeline there of other attempts to bring a track to the NYC/NJ area)(6-13-2007)
- Staten Island racetrack site to go up for sale this month: The largest piece of undeveloped land on Staten Island, once slated for a racetrack that never grabbed the hearts of residents and politicians, will be on the real estate market within a month. Michael Printup, manager for the defunct plan to build an 82,500-seat NASCAR track on the borough's West Shore, said a recent study of the most apt uses for the 675-acre site points to commerce or shipping, given the land's 5,000-foot expanse along the Arthur Kill. International Speedway Corp., the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based company that builds NASCAR tracks around the country, has hired real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield to sell the land. ISC paid $110 million for the parcel in late 2004, making it the most expensive land deal in borough history, but Printup would not say whether the company expects to recoup that money.(Staten Island Advance)(5-13-2007)
- Motorsports Comples being considered in Long Island NY: On March 9, RexCorp Realty, in partnership with Long Island Destination Group LLC, released plans for a $1 billion entertainment complex at the former Grumman air runway and testing facility, provided that the Town of Riverhead, NY [Long Island] agrees to sell the property and green-light the project. The plan includes a 1/4-mile track for local weekly events—similar to what takes place at nearby Riverhead Raceway—and a 3/4-mile track. The project would also feature a large equestrian center; a 15,000-seat amphitheater; an 8,000- to 9,000-seat indoor arena; and a family entertainment resort, featuring two hotels and amusement park-like activities. The proposed tracks have no connection to the NASCAR-affiliated International Speedway Corporation (ISC), whose attempt to build a track in Staten Island was scrapped last December amid fierce opposition from residents. Michael Mannetta, the lead designer for the project, says that while NASCAR is not officially involved, the sport’s governing body has “been spoken to in quiet ways” about the EPCAL Centre. If you want to attract a franchise [like NASCAR], you need the kind of facility that will give you that opportunity,” says Mannetta, a partner and director of design with the Spector Group in North Hills. He adds that the racing facility can be built in phases to eventually reach the 80,000 number. That jibes with the interpretation of Riverhead Supervisor Phil Cardinale, who says it was explained to him that the initial track capacity would be 20,000, and would be expanded only if it were awarded a top-tier race date by NASCAR. Similar to the Staten Island effort, the main hurdle will be not the cars on the track, but those trying to get to the track. Michael Printup, who was in charge of ISC’s Staten Island project, says that his company looked at Long Island around eight years ago, but it wasn’t considered as a target site due to its “bottleneck of traffic.”(Long Island Press)(3-14-2007)
- ISC Discontinues Pursuit of Speedway in Staten Island: International Speedway Corporation ("ISC") today announced its decision to discontinue pursuit of a speedway development on Staten Island. The Company will explore alternative strategies for the 676-acre parcel of land it currently owns in the borough. ISC had been evaluating the feasibility of developing a motorsports entertainment facility on Staten Island since late 2004. This study focused on a number of key project components such as:
- Evaluating the potential for securing the necessary land-use change and permitting approvals;
- Analyzing the potential requirements and related costs that would be imposed on the project as conditions of any approvals received;
- Further analyzing the potential economic model for the speedway development, including construction and other costs; and,
- Determining the level of available public incentives for the development.
The decision to discontinue speedway development efforts has been driven by a variety of factors, including:
- The inability to secure the critical local political support that is necessary to secure the required land-use change approvals for a speedway development;
- Even if ISC had secured the necessary political support, it became apparent that the Company would have been faced with unacceptable approval requirements, including operational restrictions that would have made the facility difficult to operate and a significant challenge to market;
- The increased risk that these unacceptable approval requirements could result in higher construction spending and annual operating costs, which would have a significant negative impact on the financial model for the speedway development.
"While we are disappointed that we could not complete the speedway development on Staten Island, our enthusiasm for the metropolitan New York market is in no way dampened and we continue to view the region as a prime location for a major motorsports facility," said ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. "We clearly believe that if we had been able to proceed through the full public process, the significant benefits this project represents would have generated a more positive reaction. However, based on the results of our feasibility study, specifically the lack of political support and unacceptable land-use approval requirements, we have determined it is in the best long-term interest of ISC to discontinue the Staten Island speedway development and pursue other strategic alternatives for the property."
The Company will immediately begin to research and develop market demand studies to assist in the evaluation of various alternative
strategies, including potentially selling the property in whole or in parts, or developing the property with a third party for some other use.
ISC believes the value of the property will be in excess of $100 million once it is filled and ready for sale.
"Despite the political challenges we experienced," continued Kennedy, "we appreciate the support from a variety of groups on Staten Island including the business, civic and residential communities to bring a speedway to the area. Due to the considerable interest and support for NASCAR racing in the region, we remain committed to the pursuit of a motorsports entertainment facility development in the nation's number one media market. We believe a facility in this area represents a significant long-term opportunity for our company, and is one component of several broader strategic growth opportunities ahead for ISC. We look forward to our continued success in achieving these opportunities and sharing our progress in the future."(prnewswire.com)(12-4-2006)
- Probe refutes FDNY claim on NASCAR deaths: A Staten Island Advance investigation has cast serious doubt on a claim Staten Island's highest-ranking fire official made two weeks ago at a public meeting that, on average, six people die while attending a NASCAR race weekend throughout the country. The FDNY, which originally was mum on his statement, is now not standing behind the claim made by Island Fire Chief Thomas Haring. "Whatever he alluded to or stated is not official FDNY information," said fire spokesman Farrell Sklerov. "It hasn't been put on the desk of the commissioner. It hasn't made it up the chain of command." Haring said he reached the number by interviewing many fire officials in towns where motor sports developer International Speedway Corp. owns tracks. He did the research in anticipation of an 80,000-plus-seat track ISC is hoping to build on the Island's West Shore -- a controversial plan on which the FDNY has not taken a public stance. The fire chief presented his finding at a meeting Sept. 7 of the borough's three community boards, and ascribed the deaths to a variety of causes, including fires, spectator car accidents, heart attacks and other medical conditions. He refused to discuss the study further. But higher-ups in the fire departments across the country that allegedly supplied the New York brass with the information tell a different story: Not only do they dispute the finding, but most say the FDNY never contacted them.
In the absence of the data, the Advance queried 11 of the 12 departments that supplement ISC's own safety services in and around their tracks during race weekends. Each disputed the statistic, and nine claim to have had no contact with the FDNY. (Fire officials in Watkins Glen, N.Y., did not return numerous calls.) "I'm the assistant chief of the county fire district and I never talked to anyone from FDNY," said Kenny Stratton of the Darlington County Fire Department, which provides firefighters to the Darlington Speedway in South Carolina. "If we got a call from the FDNY, that would be something to talk about. We'd take that kind of serious." Stratton refuted the statistic, and said he could not recall any fatalities at the Darlington track.
The fire chief in Columbia, Mich., recalled being interviewed via phone and e-mail several times last year by the New York department about safety protocol outside Michigan International Speedway. Still, he said, the track averages one to three deaths per race -- a number that includes fires, medical conditions and car accidents within a 25-mile radius of the speedway. The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue & Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security, which also was interviewed by the FDNY about the services it provides to the Homestead-Miami Speedway, was shocked by the finding. "We've never had six in one weekend. Ever," said Lt. Shanti Hall, a spokeswoman for the department. She said the department does not collect figures on the fatality rate among NASCAR spectators.(in part from the Staten Island Advance)(9-23-2006)
- Firm loses permits to cart soil to proposed NYC track site: The company hoping to build a NASCAR track and retail complex on Staten Island has lost its city-issued permits to cart soil onto its Bloomfield property, according to officials from the city Department of Sanitation. Shortly after relinquishing its state-issued license on Sept. 7 to haul soil onto the 675-acre site, the company was stripped of similar rights granted by Sanitation. Now Sanitation and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are investigating the content of the soil, although they have not said why it doesn't meet government standards. That leaves 380 Development -- the corporate partnership between motorsports mogul International Speedway Corp. and commercial developer The Related Companies -- in the lurch, because soil deposits are necessary for grading the property for future construction. The latest troubles for the controversial NASCAR project to build an 80,000-plus-seat stadium have given City Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island/Brooklyn) one more reason to blast the developer. He would not reveal who told him about the soil concerns, but said he has since aired his concerns with higher-ups from both agencies. Oddo also has written three letters to the DEC since July to address his concerns. The agency contacted him last week, but did not divulge specifics, he said. DEC spokeswoman Maureen Wren has said the agency's investigation began two weeks ago because a routine check of the 250,000 cubic yards of soil that ISC has been carting onto the site raised the eyebrows of Sanitation officials, who then contacted the state agency. Shortly after the investigation began, the track builder voluntarily relinquished its DEC license to bring in fill. Sanitation and the DEC, which have different soil standards for developers, are joining forces to investigate the soil and determine how to direct 380, according to Mellis and Ms. Wren.(Staten Island Advance)(9-22-2006)
- NASCAR firm probed over site violation in Staten Island: A NASCAR developer is under investigation by the state Dept of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for possibly carting substandard fill onto the Staten Island [NY] site where it hopes to build a racetrack. After being questioned by city and state agencies, International Speedway Corp.[ISC], which promotes NASCAR races and owns leading motor sports tracks, voluntarily relinquished its right to bring fill to the Bloomfield site. DEC inspected the site last week, and Speedway consultant Mark Chertok sent a brief letter to the state agency almost immediately afterward, indicating that 380 Development -- the ISC majority-owned subsidiary that owns the track property -- was giving up its license to grade the site in Bloomfield with fill. "380 Development believes that this step will provide the opportunity to strengthen its environmental management program," according to the letter, which was obtained by the Advance. The DEC visit entailed a series of routine checks, and the agency had further concerns based on the visit, said spokeswoman Maureen Wren. "There were questions about where the fill had been placed and the content of the fill, as a result of that site investigation," Ms. Wren said. She would not discuss specifics of the ongoing investigation. Neither would she say when the results would be made public.
"[DEC] has communicated certain items that we are currently reviewing," John Graham, ISC vice president of business affairs, wrote in an e-mail to the Advance. "We have voluntarily ceased fill operations at the project site while we address these items." Graham did not answer further questions about the specific items under review but said the company is "working closely with the DEC to reach a mutually agreeable plan for going forward."
Last year, DEC granted the developer a Beneficial Use Determination petition that allowed it to haul fill onto the 675-acre property where it hopes to build an 80,000-plus-seat stadium with an adjoining retail center. Ultimately, ISC hopes to place 1 million cubic yards of fill on the property, elevating it by at least 2 feet and making it compliant with a state-mandated environmental cleanup order, ISC officials have said. To date, ISC has deposited about 250,000 cubic yards on the site, Ms. Wren said. "The fill itself mainly consists of soil from excavation sites or other types of excavation material, and that soil has to meet certain criteria," she added.(Staten Island Advance)(9-16-2006)
- ISC Helps Staten Island Little League: NASCAR is riding to the rescue of the Staten Island Little League, after venerable Hy Turkin Field was torn up from home plate to the outfield in a sickening episode of vehicular vandalism earlier this week. Michael Printup of International Speedway Corp., which seeks to build an 80,000-seat racetrack in Bloomfield, arranged a corporate donation of 500 square feet of sod and some 18 cubic yards of clean fill to make the Dongan Hills field playable again. The work will be done today and tomorrow [July 14-14]. Printup, who coaches in the South Shore Little League, said he wanted to help as soon as he read the distressing details in Wednesday's Advance. "For something that was so horrible in nature, I knew we [ISC] had to do something," he said. "This is something for the kids, so they can get back out there and play." Pete Sclafani expressed gratitude on behalf of the SILL board of directors. "It's good to see people from the community kicking in," Sclafani said.(Staten Island Advance)(7-18-2006)
- NASCAR will cut race traffic: The company hoping to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island is working to reduce the number of fans' cars that would be allowed onto the grounds on race days, officials for track developer International Speedway Corp. said yesterday. ISC's current plan to allow 8,400 cars at the 80,000-seat stadium has drawn the ire of local public officials, and company executives now promise to try to reduce that number, though they would not divulge key details, such as the number of cars permitted to park in the track's lot, or what alternate mode of transportation they would employ. The most recent traffic plan, released in January, relies heavily on buses and ferries to transport the bulk of the fans to races on the Island's West Shore. "We are working on a reduction in the car count on race days, and it would be a significant reduction if we're able to achieve it. We're not in a position today to give numbers on that, because if and when we make a statement about a reduced car count, we want to make sure it's something we can deliver," said John Graham, vice president for business affairs at ISC. "We don't have a specific time frame," Graham said about announcing details of the effort to limit cars. "It will be just as long as it takes for us to determine that, yes, we can in fact deliver on the lower number." But Graham said he hopes to finalize a new traffic plan before the next public hearing on the track, which has yet to be scheduled by the Department of City Planning.(Staten Island Advance)(7-11-2006)
- ISC now targets 2011 for New York, Northwest: International Speedway Corp. Chief Operating Officer John Saunders said Thursday that the earliest a track could open in New York City or Seattle likely will be 2011. Talking with financial analysts to discuss the company's earnings, Saunders said the slow-moving process in trying to get the political backing necessary to earn governmental approvals have delayed the projects. ISC hopes to build a 1.2-mile track southwest of Seattle and a three-quarter-mile track on New York's Staten Island.(SceneDaily.com)(7-8-2006)
- ISC Responds to to NYC Council Blast: The would-be developer of the 80,000-seat NASCAR track proposed for Staten Island is hitting back at the borough's City Council contingent, which has put up a united front against the project. Lesa Kennedy, president of International Speedway Corp., wrote a letter yesterday to Councilmen James Oddo and Andrew Lanza, faulting them for a rush to judgment. Oddo and Lanza sent a scathing letter of their own to NASCAR affiliate ISC on Monday. In her correspondence, Ms. Kennedy criticized the elected officials for making hasty decisions before the public process unfolds, and for politicizing the issue. "We, like anyone else, deserve the opportunity to present the facts and not be pre-judged," Ms. Kennedy wrote. The tense exchange of letters took place as ISC and officials from the Department of City Planning -- which oversees public land-use meetings -- were hashing out ways to ensure the next public hearing is orderly. Though their meeting yesterday was private, a source said the suggestions included a stepped-up police presence, a ban on pro- and anti-track signs, earlier sign-in sheets and situating speakers away from the audience.
Oddo (R-Mid-Island/Brooklyn), Lanza (R-South Shore) and McMahon (D-North Shore) each spoke on April 27 at the first public hearing on the track, which dissolved into chaos and was ordered shut down by cops. After that "scoping" meeting, Oddo and Lanza said they would not attend another hearing and declared the project dead. Oddo, whose district would house the track, vowed to do whatever he could to kill the project if it eventually reaches the City Council for a vote. "Any attempt to sever the democratic process would be unfair and send a chilling signal to any company seeking to do business on Staten Island," Ms. Kennedy wrote. In their letter, Oddo and Lanza reiterated their opposition to the raceway and told the ISC board of directors to "protect your shareholders," since it is a publicly traded company. It went on to slam ISC for presenting a "woefully inadequate" traffic plan which Staten Island's three councilmen, including Mchael McMahon, have said would only worsen the borough's congestion problem. A date and location have yet to be announced for the next public hearing.(Staten Island Advance)(5-13-2006)
- The third nail in the NASCAR New York City plan: Councilman Michael McMahon announced yesterday that he would vote against the NASCAR track proposed for Staten Island, making opposition unanimous among the borough's three City Council members.
This just days after foes of the NASCAR track demanded that McMahon publicly state his position on the racetrack, to which he countered that all the facts were not yet in to make a decision. In a statement released last night, McMahon, worried about traffic jams on race weekends, blasted developer International Speedway Corp.'s proposal for an 80,000-seat track on the Island's West Shore.
He also said that Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Melinda Katz, chairwoman of the Council's Land Use Committee, have joined the Island delegation in asking the Bloomberg administration to examine other zoning alternatives for the site and possibly buy the property through eminent domain. Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island/Brooklyn) said last night the track proposal doesn't stand a chance now that he, McMahon and Councilman Andrew Lanza (R-South Shore) are all opposed. McMahon said yesterday in the Advance that he had planned to hold off final judgment until after the environmental review process was competed. "I don't think Staten Islanders have all the facts to make a final decision," he said. He insisted that the track developers had to "make a best and final offer" before he took a stand on the project. Although ISC has proposed a fleet of buses and ferries to transport most race fans during its three race weekends a year, the developer plans to include 8,400 parking spots, to close two consecutive entrance ramps to the Staten Island Expressway and to send hundreds of buses down residential streets. But an ISC official countered that McMahon's announcement does not kill the project. "These preemptive decisions are disappointing. Nonetheless ... we don't have any decision to just throw up our arms and go, 'Oh, well,'" said Michael Printup, ISC project manager for the Island raceway. "At this point, I think it's too early in the process to say, 'OK, well [he] doesn't like this program. We have to go do something else.'" Former Borough President Guy Molinari, one of ISC's lobbyists, contended that McMahon and his colleagues have taken premature positions on the track, since ISC has yet to present a final plan to the city. He and Printup insisted the track still could get approval, since each of the Council's 51 members has an equal vote. ISC paid $110 million for the site in late 2004 and has since spent more than $20 million on the project.(in part from the Staten Island Advance)(5-11-2006)
- Pandemonium closes NASCAR meeting for NYC track UPDATE: Hundreds of people interested in learning more about the proposed 80,000-seat NASCAR track attended a public hearing tonight in the Petrides Educational Complex, Sunnyside. However, after representatives from racetrack developer International Speedway Corp. spoke, the crowd inside the school’s auditorium turned unruly and began heckling elected officials once they took to the microphone. One man even tried to wrestle the microphone out of City Counilman Andrew Lanza’s hands by placing the official in a partial headlock. Outside, throngs of people who couldn’t get in chanted, held up placards and engaged in often boisterous debate with one another. Borough President James P. Molinaro blamed the “ruckus” on the Department of City Planning, saying the agency should have asked for a larger police presence instead of the “Keystone Cops” and that elected officials shouldn’t have been on the floor with the audience. By 7:20 p.m., the cops had officially shut down the meeting.(Staten Island Advance, see another story that includes a video link at WABC-TV)(4-28-2006)
UPDATE: The pandemonium that broke out at last night's city hearing on NASCAR means the proposal for a track on Staten Island now faces an even bigger hurdle. The borough's three city councilmen say they are furious with track developer International Speedway Corp., and their tolerance for the raceway plan -- which was tepid at best -- is quickly wilting. But ISC officials insist they still stand a good chance of winning over the City Council, which gets the final vote on the proposed 80,000-seat track in Bloomfield and an adjoining 620,000-square-foot retail center. "I think we have a long way to go and I still think we have a good chance of getting the speedway approved," Michael Printup, ISC project manager for the Island track, said after the public hearing. "We've still got to keep working with [the councilmen]. I don't believe they'll shut the doors. They never have yet." The elected officials, however, were hardly forgiving of the outbursts that climaxed in Councilman Andrew Lanza's being nearly pressed into a headlock shortly after he made comments to the crowd of almost 1,000 people in the Petrides Educational Complex, Sunnyside. "This was brewing from the very beginning. Certainly, ISC didn't do anything to stop it," Lanza (R-South Shore) said after the meeting, which police ordered shut down within the first hour. He was not hurt in the confrontation with Westerleigh resident Christopher Wallace. "Tonight was an insult to the people of Staten Island," added Lanza, who has criticized the ISC plan since it bought the 675-acre site in 2004. "[ISC] is either unwilling or unable to do the right thing by the people of Staten Island. I am going to continue to oppose this." Track supporters blamed Lanza for inciting the crowd when he implied the advocates were labor union workers who would get jobs if the track is built but who live off-Island and would not be burdened by the track's drawbacks. "When Lanza got up, he just inflamed the crowd," said ISC lobbyist Guy Molinari, the former borough president. Lanza scoffed at that accusation. Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island/Brooklyn), whose district would house the track, accused ISC of planning an attack last night. Printup fervently denied the allegation, blaming the mayhem on rowdy people who represent both sides of the debate.(see full article at Staten Island Advance and at NASCAR.com ISC: Reports of Staten Island 'riot' overblown by Marty Smith