ISC scraps plans to build NASCAR track on Staten Island

Monday, December 4th 2006, 5:11 pm
By: News On 6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) International Speedway Corp. scrapped plans Monday to build a track on Staten Island, stalling NASCAR's dream to bring a race to the New York area.

"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," ISC president Lesa France Kennedy said. "We continue to view the region as a prime location for a major motorsports facility."

France Kennedy heads ISC, the publicly traded sister company of NASCAR, which was founded by her grandfather and currently chaired by her brother, Brian France.

Both companies badly want to expand NASCAR into the New York metropolitan area, and moved toward that goal in 2004 when a subsidiary of ISC paid about $100 million for a 440-acre former oil tank farm on Staten Island. The company later bought another 236 acres to gain the necessary land for a race track.

In all, ISC said it has spent about $150 million on the project:

--$123 million for land and related improvements.

--$11 million for costs related to the development of the speedway.

--$16 million for capitalized interest and property taxes.

But the proposal has been met by severe resistance, including a hotly contested April public meeting in which tempers rose reached dangerous levels, forcing police to end the meeting over safety concerns.

ISC cited an "inability to secure the critical local political support" in ending the Staten Island project.

ISC said it may now sell the land, which it believes will be worth more than $100 million. The company said the decision to abandon the effort will result in a non-cash, pretax charge results of approximately $75 to $85 million, or $0.90 to $1.02 per diluted share after-tax.