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Old October 15th, 2008, 01:25 AM   #1
Steeltown
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NASCAR to Fort Erie

Fort Erie officials team with Kuwaiti bank in plans for NASCAR track

By Stephen Watson
Updated: 10/14/08 2:40 PM

A Kuwaiti investment bank is leading a group that plans to spend $200 million (Canadian) to build a NASCAR-ready race track and entertainment complex in Fort Erie, Canadian officials announced today.

The consortium from the Middle East and Canada says it will build the 65,000-seat facility on a 623-acre parcel it has purchased just off the Queen Elizabeth Way in Fort Erie.

Investors and local officials say the racing complex will attract new visitors to Ontario, creating 1,200 jobs and generating $34 million (Canadian) in new tax revenue, according to a news release from Bayt Al Mal Investments, the Kuwaiti Islamic investment bank.

"The region will receive a huge shot in the arm through increased economic development and tourism," Peter Partington, the Niagara regional chairman, equivalent to the Erie County executive, said in a statement today issued prior to a news conference in Fort Erie.

The investment group is building the track to the specifications required to host a NASCAR race, and investors hope to persuade NASCAR's governing body to bring a Sprint Cup Series race to the track. NASCAR officials have said in the past that they want to hold a top-tier race in Canada.

About 1,200 people would be hired to build the track, located less than four miles from the border with New York. Another 120 full-time employees would operate the facility.

The complex could be expanded from 65,000 to 100,000 seats, and it will contain both a one-mile oval track and a 2•-mile road course.

Fort Erie Mayor Douglas Martin has been working with Bayt Al Mal for the past 18 months. The other partners in the investment group were not identified.

Martin and economic development officials from the region and the province were in Dubai last week meeting with members of the investment group in an effort to close a deal.

Local officials say the investment in the motor-speedway complex will be the first of many linking Ontario to the Middle East.

"Bayt Al Mal did their homework, recognized Ontario's tremendous potential and made a wise decision to invest here," said Sandra Pupatello, Ontario's minister for international trade and investment.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 01:26 AM   #2
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That's pretty crazy. I'm not a huge fan or anything, but that's actually pretty awesome if all goes well?
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Old October 15th, 2008, 02:02 AM   #3
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I never even knew anything about this, was it just announced. If so, that would be great for Fort Erie, and a great location for Buffalo and Western New York NASCAR and sports fans, including myself. Sabres, Bills, and NASCAR, a WNY sports fan's combination.

I always thought a NASCAR track was proposed north of Toronto, I guess that hasn't materialized.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 03:40 AM   #4
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This sounds good for Fort Erie. I'm not a NASCAR fan or anything, but it sounds nice. The general Fort Erie area is seeing a little bit of growth already because of the other racing in town (horse racing). This should add to that.

It sounds to me that the racetrack will be at the Gilmore Road exit (Exit 5). It's 3.8 miles from the Peace Bridge. I'm guessing that the racetrack would go on the farmland near the Gilmore Road & Sunset Drive intersection.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 04:57 AM   #5
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NASCAR needs to overhaul it's image in my opinion... everyone I know either are not interested in it, or wouldn't dare admit it. Which is strange... car racing is exciting.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 06:16 AM   #6
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Interesting..definitely something that I would support, even though I don't follow nascar at all..my interest would definitely rise with a major race in the neighbourhood.
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Old October 15th, 2008, 10:49 PM   #7
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Note that this is a "NASCAR-ready " facility, there is no promise that there will be actual NASCAR races there, although I'm sure they will try very hard to secure one. Still, a very exciting proposal that will add another huge piece to Niagara Region's tourist industry.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #8
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More news on the possible NASCAR track in Fort Erie:

Quote:
NASCAR's Jeff Gordon aiding plan for Ontario racetrack
Fort Erie facility would open in 2011


When golfing legends like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer finish their playing days, they often become involved in golf course design.

It looks like NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon is following a similar path in auto racing.

The four-time Sprint Cup Series champion is involved with a consortium planning to build a $172 million, 623-acre racetrack in Fort Erie, Ont.

John Bickford, vice president and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., verified to The Buffalo News on Wednesday that Gordon is involved in the project. Bickford — who is also Gordon’s stepfather — stated via e-mail that while there is a letter of understanding between the parties, there is no signed agreement at this time.

Gordon was not available to comment.

Last October, officials held a news conference in Fort Erie announcing plans to build a 65,000- seat facility located less than four miles from the border, backed by a Kuwaiti financial company called Bayt Al Mal Investments. The track would be located just off the Queen Elizabeth Way, between Bowen and Gilmore roads, officials said.

“Jeff Gordon is a world-acclaimed driver and he also has Jeff Gordon [Inc.],” said Jim Thibert, general manager of the Fort Erie Economic Development & Tourism Corp. “It would be huge for this project.”

Thibert said Gordon and his representatives have been involved with the project for about two years. “His people from Jeff Gordon [Inc.] have been in Fort Erie,” Thibert said.

Gordon’s name was linked to the project in a story in last month’s inaugural issue of “Professional Motorsport Circuit.” The article was written by Azhar Mohammad, who is the executive director of Emirates Consulting, a Toronto-based subsidiary of Bayt Al Mal Investments. Thibert called Mohammad “the official spokesman” of the venture.

The article bills the track as a “Jeff Gordon Signature Speedway” and states that the complex will feature “Jeff Gordon Driving Schools and Driver Experience Institute.” The Jeff Gordon Racing School is currently offered at various tracks.

The article also states that the complex will include a one-mile oval track as well as a 2.6- mile road course, 80 luxury suites, a hotel, 8,000-seat amphitheater and campgrounds. It says the facility is set to open for racing in the summer of 2011.

“We are at a pretty advanced stage—a lot of money has been spent to get to this point,” said Thibert. “From my knowledge of the process and conversations with the director of planning, there’s not a whole lot left.”
http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregio...ry/634596.html
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Old April 21st, 2009, 05:40 AM   #9
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Interesting Jeff Gordon is getting involved with this. But I guess if the Niagara area has its John Daly and other big name attractions, Jeff Gordon would fit perfectly.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 04:03 AM   #10
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Any news on this

Im not fan of NASCAR but we need motorsport in Ontario,
the Honda Indys is just one weekend

i wish to see tracks like mosport or anything resembling a F1 track
and hopefully much closer to the GTA (maybe Caledon or milton)

Last edited by dime; August 6th, 2010 at 11:50 AM.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 02:50 AM   #11
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The big reason for it being in Fort Erie is to tap the US market.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #12
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Does Canadians even care about the NASCAR?
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Old August 4th, 2010, 06:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKorean View Post
Does Canadians even care about the NASCAR?
You'd be surprised at how many people from Canada (mainly southern Ontario) attend NASCAR races at Michigan International Speedway, the closest track to Canada in terms of distance. It's advertised all the time. NASCAR is a lot more popular up here than it was 15 years ago. Southern Ontario and parts of Quebec are where it's most popular, not real sure about the other provinces though.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 07:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKorean View Post
Does Canadians even care about the NASCAR?
Yes
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Old August 26th, 2010, 09:29 PM   #15
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Any updates? This would be great for the Ontario economy as well as tourism in the Niagara Region for sure.

Edit: A google search actually revealved this article from just yesterday stating almost all regulatory approvals are in place and they hope to break ground next month.

http://www.nascar.com/2010/news/opin...up.race/1.html

Sounds like a great milestone to watch and see if they get off the ground with this thing.

Last edited by Pardath; August 26th, 2010 at 09:45 PM. Reason: update
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 10:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dime View Post
Any news on this

Im not fan of NASCAR but we need motorsport in Ontario,
the Honda Indys is just one weekend

i wish to see tracks like mosport or anything resembling a F1 track
and hopefully much closer to the GTA (maybe Caledon or milton)
Mosport is north of Bowmanville. Building a second such track would end up being a financial disaster. They've even renovated Mosport recently, too.
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Old June 8th, 2013, 07:52 PM   #17
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They want to have it ready by mid 2015 - Fort Erie Times article:
UPDATE: Fort Erie Speedway Gets Green Light
By Matt Day, Niagara Falls Review
Thursday, June 6, 2013 5:12:40 EDT PM




FORT ERIE - The decision was worth the wait, said proponents of the Canadian Motor Speedway. The $400 million speedway project can now move forward following a decision made by the Ontario Municipal Board to deny an appeal opposing the adjudicative tribunal's original November ruling. "It's been a long time and a long journey and we're finally glad the decision has come forward," said Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin. "Our next step is meeting with Azhar (Mohammad, executive director of the speedway) to get his team together and the documents together to move forward with the project and put shovels in the ground." In the 17-page document released shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday, the OMB decision states the environmental group Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society "has not made out a convincing and compelling case — or, indeed, any case — that (OMB vice-chair Susan de Avellar) Schiller violated the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness."...

...The Canadian Motor Speedway released a statement saying they will enter the final detailed site plan approval phase after waiting more than six years since the complex was first proposed. "We are evaluating a groundbreaking date. However, our priority is to begin work on the new Miller Creek enhancement this summer," Azhar Mohammad said. “While CMS works with Fort Erie on final site plan approval, investors are evaluating an appropriate time to stage a ground breaking, with a target to complete the core facility by the third quarter of 2015,” the statement said.

Read more: http://www.forterietimes.ca/2013/06/...-appeal-denied

Last edited by current; June 8th, 2013 at 08:06 PM.
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Old June 12th, 2013, 06:14 AM   #18
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What great news! Unfortunately though it appears even if constructed on time this facility will be ready at the end of 2015 peak racing season here in the cold white north. Better late then never, still great news! On the positive side even if a few months delayed 2016 should be a season packed full of big league racing events and many more.

This is going to be such a great facility and tourist draw for the entire area!
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Old October 27th, 2013, 08:06 PM   #19
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Work has officially started on the new race track in Fort Erie!

http://www.buffalonews.com/business/...egion-20131026
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Old October 27th, 2013, 09:41 PM   #20
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Excellent news!!
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