BY JAMES HARPER
Daytona International Speedway has to educate what racing does for the state to “our friends in the (Florida) legislature,’’ DIS President Joie Chitwood III said last week while addressing the most current issues in major sports.
“We bring in folks from all over,” said Chitwood, the day after State Senator Dorothy L. Hukill (R-Port Orange), filed Senate Bill 208, which provides for state sales tax distributions to a motorsports entertainment complex, just as other professional sports groups receive.
A similar bill was filed by Hukill during the last legislative session in March but never made it to a vote.
DIS is in the middle of a $400 million renovation project known as “Daytona Rising.’’
“DIS should have the same opportunities as other sport franchises in Florida have,” said Hukill in a press release.
“This is an investment in the future of tourism for the state and the creation of jobs for Florida’s families,” said Hukill. “We want visitors to the Speedway planning their return trip, even before they leave.”
Chitwood made his comments during a panel discussion at DIS on Sept. 27.
“We need the right financial resources to compete,” Chitwood said as he addressed panelists Mark Lamping, president, Jacksonville Jaguars; Mike Millay, director of Sports Business Development, ESPN’s Wide World of Sports; and John Bisignano, president/CEO of Central Florida Sports Commission.
“We are competitive by nature but can learn from each other,” he continued.
Chitwood said DIS is targeting the 18-to-25 year-old demographics with the renovation.
“TV is our No. 1 competitor to a live event. Sixty percent of our customers come from outside the state of Florida. It’s not just about putting on a sporting event,” he noted. “We have to get folks off their couches.’’
Chitwood also said the renovation project is an “engineering marvel to get done.’’
Oct. 16 forum
Blacks and other minorities will have another opportunity to put in bids for work on the project. A second outreach forum is scheduled Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at DIS, 1801 West International Speedway Blvd.
“If you are a Florida minority- or woman-owned business, or if you are a local Volusia County construction trade, join Barton Malow/Rossetti team to discuss possible opportunities on this project,” stated a press release sent to the Daytona Times.
Interested contractors have to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 386-681-4800 by Oct. 7.
More than 6,300 new jobs
After breaking ground at the beginning of July, Daytona Rising project is off to a fast start.
DIS revealed initial economic benefits for the Daytona Rising project were based on a $250 million investment.
Now that the actual investment from the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) will be between $375 million and $400 million.
The project is expected to generate more than 6,300 new jobs during the construction more than $300 million in labor income during construction, and more than $85 million in new federal, state and local tax revenue throughout construction.
The calculated economic benefits from Daytona Rising are in addition to the already substantial impacts generated by the ongoing operations of ISC and Daytona International Speedway:
“Daytona International Speedway and parent company International Speedway Corporation have been long-standing pillars of our community, responsible for generating billions in economic activity each and every year,” stated Hukill.
“They are now literally building upon their past success with the Daytona Rising project, and investing $400 million to modernize the iconic Speedway for the community and motorsports fans throughout the world – providing a much needed influx of jobs, labor income and tax revenue in the process,” she continued.
About the project
Five expanded and redesigned entrances or “injectors” will lead fans to a series of escalators and elevators, transporting them to three different concourse levels.
Each level features spacious social areas or “neighborhoods” along the nearly mile-long frontstretch. At the conclusion of the redevelopment, DIS will have approximately 101,000 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands, according to information released about the project.
In addition, the Speedway will feature over 60 luxury suites with track side views and a completely revamped hospitality experience for corporate guests.
The project is expected to be completed in time for the 2016 Rolex 24.
Barton Malow is the design-builder of the project. Rossetti, an architectural design and planning firm, is leading the master planning of the Daytona Rising site.