By Clayton Park
DAYTONA BEACH — With Speedweeks shifting into high gear, the Bass Pro Shops store across the street from Daytona International Speedway opens Thursday night with an event featuring appearances by NASCAR drivers and other celebrities.
The timing of the outdoor-gear-and-apparel store’s opening to coincide with Speedweeks was very much intentional, confirmed Todd Blanchard, the store’s general manager.
“Part of it has to do with our partnership with NASCAR and ISC (International Speedway Corp.),” he said. “We want to support them, which in turn really supports us. It helps being open when a couple hundred thousand people are across the street. Our customers and NASCAR fans are one and the same. They enjoy the outdoors and that includes racing.”
Bass Pro Shops is part of the One Daytona mixed-use development that in December saw the opening of its first tenant: the 12-screen Cobb Daytona Luxury Theatres movie complex.
Up next are a 105-room Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel and a two-story parking garage, both set to open in either August or September just north of the International Motorsports Center office building where NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. have their headquarters.
This fall, possibly by Thanksgiving, One Daytona is expected to welcome the simultaneous opening of several restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, including P.F. Chang’s, Guitar Center and GameTime, the latter which will include a bowling alley, video arcade and a full-service restaurant/bar.
Rounding out the initial phase will be a 145-room Marriott Autograph Collection hotel called The Daytona and a 276-unit multi-building apartment complex, both on track to open in early 2018.
“Construction for One Daytona is progressing nicely,” International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy said in a recent conference call with stock analysts.
“The much-anticipated December opening of Cobb Theatres was well received by moviegoers. … We are excited about the opportunities One Daytona will bring, creating synergy with the Daytona International Speedway through enhanced customer and partner experiences and leveraging our real estate on a year-round basis, while creating value for our shareholders.”
In an interview with The News-Journal, Craig Neeb, an executive vice president with ISC, said, “Everything is on target” regarding One Daytona’s initial phase.
The goal of One Daytona is to complement the amenities and improvements ISC made to the Speedway last year with the completion of its $400 million Daytona Rising makeover project. ISC has said it expects to invest up to $150 million on its portion of One Daytona’s initial phase, with the total cost, including the amount spent by the developers of the hotels and apartments, forecast to exceed $200 million.
“The vision,” Neeb said, “is to create a synergy between our new motorsports stadium, which is really an entertainment stadium now, to offer a 365-day-a-year destination on both sides of the street.”
When a big event such as the Daytona 500 concludes at the Speedway, fans can cross over International Speedway Boulevard via one of the two pedestrian overpasses to keep their fun outing going at One Daytona, Neeb said.
“On a Friday night, for example, they can enjoy a band playing at (One Daytona’s) Victory Circle, eat out or go to the theater,” he said. “We want people to be able to spend hours here.”
Victory Circle will essentially serve as a town square for One Daytona and will include a covered stage area where concerts can be held, as well as “pop-up fountains” that kids can enjoy during the day and that will be accompanied by lights and music at night.
Daytona Boulevard will serve as a pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined main promenade for One Daytona, complete with shops, eateries and kiosks leading visitors from International Speedway Boulevard north to the Cobb Daytona Luxury Theatres complex.
Upon completion of One Daytona’s initial phase, the development is expected to boost ISC’s annual revenues by approximately $12 million, according to ISC’s latest earnings report.
One Daytona’s initial phase is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs, according to an ISC-commissioned study conducted by The Washington Economics Group.
Neeb said ISC plans to eventually expand One Daytona in phases to as much as 190 acres. Future phases could include a grocery store as well as more restaurants, shops and office space.
“There is definitely more to come,” said Neeb who added that one of the potential future phases could involve redeveloping the existing older ISC-owned Volusia Point shopping center on the northwest corner of International Speedway and Bill France boulevards.
Neeb declined to say when those future phases would be built, or to offer more details as to what those expansion projects might include. “It’s going to complement what’s being built (in the first phase),” he said. “We will build the project to what we think will be successful and sustainable. We don’t want to get too quick and over-build.”