BY JAMES HARPER
Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood confirmed during a press teleconference Tuesday that his organization intends to implement a coordinated community outreach program, including advertising, trade fairs, training and meet-and-greet opportunities, to ensure all qualified locals, women and minority firms can participate in the nearly $400 million renovation project.
Chitwood announced that the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) gave the green flag to fund redevelopment of the frontstretch of the Daytona International Speedway (DIS), the company’s 54-year-old flagship motorsports facility, to enhance the overall experience for its fans, marketing partners and the motorsports industry.
Groundbreaking next month
A press release stated that the multiyear project will break ground on July 5 and is targeted for completion in January 2016, in time for the 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 58th Daytona 500.
The Daytona Times first reported on the renovation project as part of a series in March involving the hiring of minority contractors on major construction projects.
Chitwood, responding to a question from the Daytona Times during Tuesday’s teleconference, said the July 5 groundbreaking will be ceremonial, and that actual construction won’t start for at least two months.
He said that initially only utility and underground work will be done.
Barton Malow hired
Chitwood confirmed the general contractor for the redevelopment project will be the Barton Malow Company, which has an office in Orlando.
He said Barton Malow will be responsible for outreach to local and minority contractors. It will be the company’s job to guarantee that all contractors have opportunities to participate on the redevelopment project, expected to cost between $375 to $400 million.
Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry was at the press conference Tuesday when Chitwood announced the plans.
Henry said Chitwood would not make any guarantees on the hiring of minorities but did say locals and minorities will be introduced to the general contractor.
Footing their own bill
Considering DIS and ISC are using their own money to finance the project, Henry said they have not come to the city asking for any financial help.
“If they do not ask us for any additional help, we don’t have any leverage to ask them for anything,” said Henry, re-emphasizing he wants DIS to hire minorities and locals for the redevelopment project.
“If they are spending $375 million, I don’t want to do anything to hold up a project of that magnitude. Economic impact will be astronomical,” said Henry, adding there is the likelihood that DIS will come before the city on permitting issues.
Community outreach planned
Speaking on behalf of the Speedway, Senior Director of Public Relations of DIS Lenny Santiago initially told the Daytona Times in its April 4 edition that DIS intended to implement a coordinated community outreach program to make sure qualified minorities are hired.
Chitwood confirmed this Tuesday after being asked by the Daytona Times during the teleconference.
“We have worked with minority and women business enterprises in the past on other initiatives.
We believe this project would represent a significant potential boost to our local economy, creating thousands of construction jobs,” Santiago said in an email to the Daytona Times last March.
Former Daytona Beach resident Anderson Hill, now a successful minority contractor based out of Orlando, said he has heard of Barton Malow, the general contractor hired by ISC, but he doesn’t know much about them.
“It would be interesting to see if they have an internal diversity policy. This means that they would have an internal goal of achieving a certain percentage of their projects go to minorities.
If so, then this effort would be in addition to the goals (of minority hiring) of the owner of the Speedway,” Hill explained.
Barton Malow’s website states, “We solicit bids from D/M/WBE subcontractors for building projects through public notices and through D/M/WBE business organizations. Members of our staff establish personal contact as well.
“We package projects to provide opportunity for all types and sizes of D/M/WBE businesses. Specific attention is focused on matching various building components with the capability of target subcontractors,” according to the website.
Plenty of qualified help
Hill said minority contractors in the Orlando area just formed the National Association of Minority Contractors for Central Florida. He was elected vice president of the group.
“We are available to assist in providing contractors to meet their goals. My company HZ Construction has formed a new business relationship and is capable of doing millions of dollars in bonded work on the project if we get an opportunity,” concluded Hill.
Though dozens of minority contractors are based in Volusia County, no such organization exists to speak on their behalf.
Sixty-six minority firms located in Volusia County are listed on Florida’s Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) website.
On the OSD website, 13 Blacks, 14 Hispanic and 38 women companies are certified as contractors – from construction companies, financial services providers, consultants and suppliers of materials.
Statewide there are 1,190 Black, 1551 Hispanic and 3,747 women businesses that are certified by the state and can be located through the Office of Supplier Diversity’s website.
Not done with Legislature
DIS President Chitwood said he expects little sleep over the next 2 ½ years as they work on the redevelopment project.
He said fan seating will not be affected until 2015. Under the new redevelopment plan, the backstretch of the DIS will be demolished.
Chitwood also said that because the Speedway did not get any help from the state on tax refunds and rebates there will be no renovations during this phase to the DIS Midway, the area from the fence enclosing the frontstretch to International Speedway Boulevard.
Chitwood was disappointed when Florida legislators refused to vote on a bill during their last session, which ended May 3, to guarantee DIS $70 million in tax breaks, refunds and rebates on the contingency that the Speedway spend at least $250 million renovating the track’s front stretch.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Chitwood said DIS should have been treated “more fairly” considering other sports franchises across the state receive rebates.
Chitwood is not giving up on the rebates. “We will be making more trips to Tallahassee,” he added.
To learn more about the redevelopment project, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/redevelopment or www.redevelopdaytona.com.