Godwin Kelly’s story from the News Journal:
DOG DAY AFTERNOON: DIS STARTS RENOVATION
By GODWIN KELLY
Staff writer DAYTONA BEACH NEWS JOURNAL
Robin Braig climbed into the cockpit of a giant backhoe, then used the large, metal claw to take a bite out of the old Daytona Beach Kennel Club Wednesday morning.
The 60-year-old clubhouse will be completely demolished in the next few weeks as Daytona International Speedway begins the transformation of the blighted property into a park-like addition to the track.
“Not only is this property a wonderful gateway statement to our community but we’ll match it up to Daytona Live!; the vegetation, trees, the whole theme will match Daytona Live!,” said Braig, the Speedway’s president.
"We’re going to demolish this building, add some tram stops here and move the grandstand gates out."In the near term, for the July 4 Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Speedway plans to use the property as a parking area for the main grandstands.By February, 2010, the land will be turned into a new grandstand entrance with plenty of grass and trees.
“For the people who sit on the west end of the track, they almost had to walk to this end of the track from the start-finish line,” Braig said. "Now they’ll have an entrance point here."Eventually, we will move all our merchandise trailers, our hospitality tent, our food and beverage, all along this front-stretch. It will be a wonderful way to have fun at the racetrack.
"This area will also include hospitality, vendor sales and exhibits.“When it comes time for Speed Weeks 2010, it will look prettier,” Braig said.Eleven months ago, International Speedway Corp., parent company of the Speedway, did a land swap with Delaware North, which owned the kennel club.ISC purchased the land and built the new dog track facility on Williamson Blvd., then exchanged that for the parcel next to the Speedway. In addition, Delaware North paid ISC $8 million.Bill France Jr., who built ISC into a billion-dollar corporation, spent the last decade of his life trying to obtain the old dog track property.
“This is not part of the Daytona Beach Racing and Recreational Facilities Authority,” Braig said. "This is owned by ISC."Bill France Jr. worked his heart out to make this purchase. We’re glad he did. It’s really going to make the operation of this facility so much easier.
"Since the property is owned by ISC, the company can do what it wants with the land, including the option to build a condo or hotel that would overlook the frontstretch of the racetrack.ISC spokesman Wes Harris, who helped cheer Braig’s demolition efforts, said he wasn’t aware of such a plan.
“Whatever we do, we want it to compliment our race-day operations,” Harris said. “The key to all of this is that we want something that will work well with all the existing facility.”