Palm Beach International Raceway: Portman Industrial’s warehouse plan spins out

Owner IRG Sports & Entertainment says it isn’t considering offers to reopen the former Moroso racetrack.

Warehouse builder Portman Industrial is no longer the driving force behind plans for the now-shuttered Palm Beach International Raceway.

While the demise of the warehouse giant has race fans hoping the property could be snatched up by a racetrack operator, the owner of the nearly 60-year-old venue slammed the brakes on that option.

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Back to the drawing board: Initial plans for raceway warehouses ‘dead’

When the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission denied a series of variances to allow Portman Industrial to build warehouses at Palm Beach International Raceway, they blocked the developer from moving on to the next step.

For the proposed builders of 2.1 million square feet of warehouse space on the site of Palm Beach International Raceway, it’s back to the drawing board.

Portman Industrial has asked to postpone its April 28 hearing before the Palm Beach County Commission for five months, until Sept. 22. 

And Portman will have to redraw its plans, says one seasoned land-use lawyer who watched April 7 as the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission unanimously rejected the warehouse builder’s requests for several variances.

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Panel taps brakes on Palm Beach racetrack-warehouse conversion

Race fans persuade Zoning Commission loss of racing at PBIR outweighs benefits of warehousing.

Racing fans won the first lap Thursday in a much longer race when the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission voted 9-0 to reject plans for a warehouse complex that would replace their beloved Palm Beach International Raceway.

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Last days at Palm Beach International Raceway: ‘Like you’re losing a family member’

They drive for hours to race at Palm Beach County’s lone racetrack: Amateurs with muscle cars, hobbyists with pricey foreign models, seasoned drivers with off-road hot rods. Now a plan for warehouses threatens the place they love.

Marcus Falden left his digital marketing job south of Miami at 11:30 on a recent Friday morning to get to the Palm Beach International Raceway before it opened at 5 p.m. 

He’s looking forward to 11 — maybe 12, but certainly not 13 — seconds of joy, as he guns his Infiniti Q50S to 119 mph for a quarter-mile straightaway. 

Marcus Falden and his Infiniti Q50S.

As soon as it’s over, he’ll line up to do it again. If the night goes right, he’ll get in three runs before the busy track closes at 11 p.m.

He and his buddy, Miguel Cruz, also from the Kendall area, drove more than 100 miles March 25 to place their cars among the first ones lined up for the drag strip at PBIR, the former Moroso Motorsports Park on Beeline Highway west of Jupiter. 

BMW
Miguel Cruz in his BMW Z4. (Joel Engelhardt photo)

“It’s hard to explain,” Cruz said. “You’re sitting in your car, and the lights start flashing (to signal the start) and your heart starts going 100 mph. It happens so fast.”

But it won’t be happening much longer.

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$350 million at stake: County to consider borrowing for affordable housing, the environment

Are residents willing to put up $200 million to correct the housing imbalance? Would they support $150 million for water resources? County commissioners to discuss Tuesday.

Palm Beach County has never been reluctant to spend large sums of taxpayer money to tackle huge issues. 

Voters approved $100 million bonds twice in the 1990s, once to buy environmentally sensitive land and a second time to buy south county farmland. 

Without voter approval, county commissioners shelled out $269 million in 2006 to land The Scripps Research Institute and $87 million more to bring Germany’s Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience to Jupiter. 

But borrowing $350 million in one fell swoop? That’s what commissioners will contemplate at a 9:30 a.m. March 29 workshop.

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Fix for PGA flyover logjam on fast track

A $7.2 million infusion from the American Rescue Plan moves up construction at PGA Boulevard and Interstate 95 by two years.

The daily traffic snarl on PGA Boulevard at Interstate 95 took a significant step toward easing Thursday with the act of a local transportation planning agency.

State plans to improve traffic flow on the perpetually stalled southbound I-95 entrance ramp moved up two years with an infusion of $7.2 million from the American Rescue Plan approved by Congress in March.

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Housing affordability crisis: ‘A fundamental business issue’

Palm Beach North Chamber panel explores what has to be done to make sure ‘the people you see every day’ can afford to live here.

As housing prices rise and supply dips, it’s becoming harder and harder for essential workers like nurses, teachers and police to find places to live in northern Palm Beach County.

That makes it harder for businesses to find employees.

And that’s one way that the area’s housing affordability crisis affects everyone, agreed four panelists Wednesday at the Palm Beach North Chamber’s “Business Before Hours” breakfast at the Embassy Suites hotel.

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Who’s in charge? Resignation leaves transportation agency adrift

Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency Executive Director Nick Uhren resigns but won’t say why; board considers hiring former deputy Valerie Neilson.

As the federal government unleashes billions for transportation, the head of the countywide agency charged with prioritizing how all that money is spent has resigned.

Nick Uhren’s decision to quit the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency after eight years left the agency’s 21-member board scrambling Thursday to find a replacement for the $200,000-a-year job.

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Inside the courtroom: How to pay for roads to keep up with growth

Palm Beach Gardens argues in five-day trial that plans for more density require alternatives to the automobile.

In a five-day trial that drilled deep into concerns over how governments charge developers for the impacts of their projects, lawyers for Palm Beach Gardens and Palm Beach County hashed out what could be the future of growth management countywide.

At issue in the first stage of a lawsuit the county filed against the city on May 18 is whether a county system in place since the late 1980s can withstand pressure from cities looking to allow more dense developments and to free residents from reliance on cars.

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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Blessed’ ground of Trump Corner to undergo conversion

Will construction break up Gardens’ hotspot for Trump rallies?

It’s “blessed” ground.

Trump Corner, the space outside the Publix shopping center in Palm Beach Gardens where local resident Willy Guardiola draws hundreds of Trump supporters for weekly rallies, has been sprinkled with holy water and suffused in prayer. 

It’s blessed in practical ways as well, with abundant parking, helpful police and a supportive landlord. 

“It’s the best location in the entire county,” Guardiola says.

But this fall the corner of Military Trail and PGA Boulevard is going to be ripped up in a $1.3 million county construction project to add a right-turn lane.

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