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.

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