Last year we bemoaned what looked to be the end of the line for local iconic motorsports facility Irwindale Speedway, as many signs seemed to suggest developers were champing at the bit to tear down the short oval and 1/8-mile drag strip and erect an ostensibly much-more-profitable shopping center. Now Joey Redmond over at Wrecked Magazine blog has dug into the issue and presented his findings in a post replete with info about what’s gone on behind the scenes (in addition to poor grammar and punctuation) and what the future holds for the so-called House of Drift.
The CliffNotes version goes something like this: Nu-Way Industries, which owned the land and built the track in 1966, pulled the trigger on selling the property after a court battle with former track management Irwindale Speedway, LLC, which had gone into bankruptcy. Nu-Way sold the 63-acre parcel in September 2013 to a real estate group in Pasadena called Lindom Company, which then drafted designs to repurpose the land under the name Irwindale Outlet Partners. As the group’s name suggests, they want to build retail on the location.
In March of 2015 the strip mall project got the green light from the city, and it is believed shortly thereafter Lindom began the hunt for potential occupants. The Wrecked post indicates developers are hoping to get a half-billion dollar (with a “B”) loan, and one of the stipulations is that they secure a certain percentage of commitments from retailers looking to move in before Lindom can get the dough.
While that happens, the speedway is basically working on a rolling 12-month agreement – which means racing operations can continue, but as soon as owners get a certain percentage of pledges (a number frankly no one knows except Lindom and the bank issuing the loan), all motorsports must stop at Irwindale Speedway 365 days after that threshold is crossed.
The good news is up to now track owners haven’t been able to meet the minimum commitment for the loan; that’s why the 2015 Formula D finale was able to proceed, and why the 2016 FD season ender will also likely go on uninterrupted. The bad news is it’s probably only a matter of time before the stars align and Lindom/ Irwindale Outlet Partners sign up enough takers – at which point the clock starts on the end of the speedway.
Such a sucky way to see a great facility go, but if nothing else these months of speculation and rumormongering have helped to prepare us for the worst. For a short list of some of our favorite times at Irwindale Speedway, check out our piece on the House of Drift’s Top 5 moments.