Chesterfield County is revving up for the redevelopment of Southside Speedway.
The county’s economic development department is expected to announce a request for qualifications today (Tuesday) to begin the process of finding developers that can take on the reinvention of the shuttered racetrack property.
The 57-acre project area consists of the Southside Speedway property at 12800 Genito Road, which is a 41-acre parcel that includes the raceway proper as well the adjacent Chesterfield Auto Parts site, and land on the opposite side of Genito Road.
Chesterfield is looking for a developer or development team that will be able to redevelop the project area to complement River City Sportsplex in line with the county’s Genito/288 Special Focus Area land-use plan, which calls for retail stores, restaurants and a 100-room hotel as well as outdoor entertainment, indoor sport facilities and sports-related medical offices.
The county wants developers with prior experience with similarly sized projects that feature a mixture of uses and the financial resources to both develop and operate the development. The county intends to sell the project area to the developer, according to the RFQ document.
The land-use roadmap offered by the plan is tailored toward the creation of amenities to drive more business at Sportsplex, which is a 115-acre youth sports tournament venue at 13030 Genito Road. The Board of Supervisors adopted the plan for the area late last year.
Economic Development Director Garrett Hart said he anticipated a developer wouldn’t be chosen until early next year at the earliest. Letters of intent to submit RFQs are due Feb. 27. Complete qualifications packages are due May 29. A request for actual project proposals would follow.
“We don’t have a tight timeline after that. That’s when we’d go to the (request for proposals). I don’t expect the process to yield a preferred developer this year,” Hart said.
Hart said Chesterfield is taking an open-minded approach to redevelopment of the site and would be open to a proposal that includes a return of racing to Southside Speedway, which for decades was home to auto races and known as “The Toughest Short Track in the South.”
“We’re looking for developers who are interested in the piece of property to see generally the ideas they come up with for the redevelopment of the property,” Hart said.
The Chesterfield Economic Development Authority owns the Southside Speedway property, which it acquired in 2021. The racetrack closed in 2020. A consultant told the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors during a presentation late last year he expected it would cost up to $15 million to return the track to functional condition after he conducted a high-level review of the property.
Hart said the county intends to acquire the Chesterfield Auto Parts location situated between the Sportsplex and Southside Speedway, and is in the process of helping the junkyard relocate.
The RFQ process comes shortly after the conclusion of talks between Chesterfield and an unnamed developer interested in a project at the site that included a return of racing. Chesterfield County Administrator Joe Casey said in November those talks came to an end because the unsolicited proposal was deemed financially infeasible.