Fairgrounds racetrack bidder is an old hand at building new tracks

2013-11-11T00:00:00Z 2013-11-11T11:42:17Z Fairgrounds racetrack bidder is an old hand at building new tracksBy Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Old, faded black-and-white photographs of race cars and color maps of tracks from around the nation line Richard “Andy” Anderson’s office.

Racing is a love affair for Anderson, the man behind a proposal to build a multimillion-dollar professional open-wheel course next to the Pima County Fairgrounds.

Southern Arizona Raceway is not the dream of some hobbyist, however.

Anderson, an architect, has designed 15 professional tracks in the same number of years.

One of the founders of Anderson Debartolo Pan Architecture and Engineering, the Tucson resident has helped plan a number of Super Bowls as well as the World Cup in 1994.

County officials confirm Arizona International MotorSports Museum Inc., a group started by Anderson, submitted the sole response to a call for proposals by the county.

Bidders would be required to spend at least $15 million to build a championship automotive racecourse, track lighting, pit road, pit area and any other requirements mandated to qualify for a French-based Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile Grade 2 license.

Additionally, the developer would need to provide amenities such as grandstands, restrooms and concessions in exchange for a long-term lease with the county.

Anderson and his partners first approached the county in 2011 with plans to build a professional course next to the other racing-related venues at the county-owned fairgrounds.

Pima County Fairgrounds already has a paved NASCAR track at the Tucson Speedway, the Southwestern International Dragway and the Musselman Honda Circuit.

The county eventually opted to solicit bids earlier this year, allowing other groups to bid on building a course on 425 unimproved acres at park.

The proposal would be for a lighted, 2.8-mile course with 14 turns.

Anderson also sees other uses for the course when it’s not being used by professional drivers.

He envisions a racing school setting up shop, teaching everything from defensive driving to advanced, high-speed courses. Private car clubs, like those for Porsche owners, might also use the course for special events.

“The whole key to making a race car track work is getting people to fill those seats,” Anderson said.

Rent, according to the county documents, would be $137,000 a year or 2 percent of gross revenues, whichever is greater.

Tom Moulton, the director of economic development and tourism for Pima County, said the staff is currently reviewing the proposal, which will be brought before the Board of Supervisors in January.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson

at jferguson@azstarnet.com or

573-4346. Follow him on Twitter

@JoeFerguson.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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