Florida Legislature approves stadium funding bill
May 02, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
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(Above, left to right) Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III, Florida Governor Rick Scott, International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy and ISC Chairman Jim France tour Daytona Rising on April 3.
The Florida Legislature approved House Bill 7095 on Friday, establishing a process for sports franchises to apply for state sales tax refunds based on the amount of sales tax generated by a facility. The governing body recommended that the bill be signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott.
Under the bill, Daytona International Speedway is eligible to apply for refunds to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Home of "The Great American Race" -- the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 -- the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex holds eight major weekends of racing activity a year. It also hosts civic and social gatherings, car shows, photo shoots, production vehicle testing and police motorcycle training.
"Today's decision by the Florida Legislature makes evident that the State recognizes the tremendous value that Daytona Rising has and continues to deliver to our area," International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy said. "If signed, the legislation will set the framework to potentially provide additional capital for the project, allowing us to build upon the already massive economic benefits being generated in the region -- from thousands of new jobs to millions of dollars in new tax revenues."
Daytona Rising, a $400 million redevelopment project of an American icon, is expected to create 6,300 jobs, $300 million in labor income and more than $80 million in tax revenue. The project is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and Daytona 500.
"We are proud of our efforts with Daytona Rising, and are especially grateful to all our local community supporters who rallied on our behalf to help keep these dollars in our community and region," Kennedy said. "We're also grateful to the leaders in Tallahassee for their willingness to create a means by which to partner with us to build a better economic future together."
Five expanded and redesigned entrances, known as "injectors," will transport fans to three concourse levels via a series of escalators and elevators. On each level along the nearly one-mile frontstretch, spacious social areas, known as "neighborhoods," will allow fans to connect with each other in person or digitally through social media.
"The Florida Legislature sent a clear message in favor of prudent economic growth today by setting up an equitable process for sports stadium projects to compete for funds that generate a return for our communities," Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. "We are thankful for their support, foresight and leadership, and look forward to the next step in the legislative process as the bill moves to the Governor's office for signing.
Following the redevelopment, the World Center of Racing will have approximately 101,000 permanent, wider seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands. Also, it will feature over 60 luxury suites with trackside views and a revamped hospitality experience for corporate guests.
"Daytona Rising is an unprecedented $400 million project that has already yielded significant economic benefits," Chitwood said. "If the bill is signed, Daytona Rising will stand as the model for a true private-public partnership with far-reaching advantages for Florida."