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County commission OKs change to convert Palm Beach International Raceway property into warehouses

Last race was conducted a year ago
Palm Beach International Raceway
Posted at 8:41 PM, May 25, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach County Commission on Thursday approved plans to allow the conversion of the Palm Beach International Raceway property into a logistic center for warehouses.

The commissions approved the zoning proposal 7-0 to turn 174-acre property into 2 million square feet of industrial warehouses. The property is on the north side of Bee Line Highway, approximately 1 mile west of Pratt Whitney Road Project

The race track, which opened in 1964 and formerly was called Moroso Motorsports Park, ran its "Last Lap" event on April 23, 2022.

It included a quarter-mile drag strip, a 2.043-mile road course, 7/10-mile kart track as well as mud racing tracks.

The commission initially denied that site plan in January. Some had raised concerns about impacts on the environment and traffic safety.

On May 2, Special Magistrate Bram Carter recommended the commission approve the proposed site plans after a hearing.

Several racers spoke about what the raceway means to them.

The lawyers said the development could bring approximately 1,500 jobs to the region, $4.6 million in annual tax revenue and $1.7 million in initial impact fees.

The Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce and Business Development Board of Palm Beach County endorsed the warehouse plans.

"The property owners, after years of operating it as a racetrack that just failed to be viable long term for the site, went to the market to see what the options were," said Seth Behn, who is representing property owner IRG Sports & Entertainment, said during the hearing. "This land has an industrial usage zone so potential buyers have been interested in the site, want it for a warehouse, logistic use.”

Still, racers believe the raceway is vital part of the economy.

“Right now, we have to drive two and a half hours to Orlando or Bradenton to race and that’s a burden on us as racers," Jennifer Davis said. "We’re spending our money somewhere else instead of here in Palm Beach County. The racetrack brought on tourism.”

In 2022, Portman Industrial withdrew an application to purchase and redevelop the space into four warehouse buildings, which the company said would bring in 1,500 new jobs.