Kent racetrack gets green light to expand

Mar 21, 2012, 7:18 AM | Updated: 10:36 am
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The expansion plan from the president of Pacific Raceways in Kent has just been approved. (AP Photo/file)
(AP Photo/file)

For more than half a century, Pacific Raceways in Kent has
been home to stock car clubs and drag racing events.
Under a plan finally approved by King County government,
the site could grow to become like a racing mini-city.

Nearly two years ago Pacific Raceways President, Jason
Fiorito, shared his vision with me. His plan calls for
more than 1 million square feet of new commercial space,
shopping areas, and race-related manufacturing.

Essentially, Fiorito says he needs to grow and host more
events, or go out of business. Club racing and the
Northwest Nationals drag race don’t come close to covering
the taxes paid to King County.

Rent from the new buildings would pay for major upgrades
to the existing and new track surfaces, and possibly help
Pacific Raceways make a profit.

“What we’d like to do is run five independent racing
surfaces on the property,” said Fiorito. “A 5-16ths mile
oval, the two-and-a-quarter mile road course, the drag
strip, a shift-car track, and a motocross track on the
club level during the week.”

The project got support from the cities of Kent and Auburn
because of the potential boost to the economy. Fiorito
estimates upgrades would create more than 800 permanent
jobs, plus 300 temporary construction positions.

As you can imagine, neighbors are not too thrilled with
the possibility of more engine noise. They testified
expansion would only make the problem worse, and fear
damage to nearby creeks and wetlands from storm water
runoff.

The Metropolitan King County Council this week voted 7-2
in favor of the Pacific Raceway redevelopment. However,
work on the 327-acre site probably won’t start for three
more years.

Fiorito must negotiate a development agreement with the
county and his plan must undergo a series of environmental
reviews.

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Kent racetrack gets green light to expand