Leading the nation in job growth last year isn’t the only topic of discussion in Volusia County these days. With a major renovation of an iconic race track underway, cutting-edge research in aviation, and important infrastructure improvements in the works, ULI members and other attendees flocked to Daytona last week to hear the latest county news directly from the experts. The ULI Signature Event: Volusia County Update was held on April 30th at the Daytona International Speedway, drawing nearly 100 guests from around Central Florida and kicking off with a tour of the Daytona International Speedway. Attendees then met for the main event, moderated by Sans Lassiter, President of Lassiter Transportation Group, and featured presentations by Joie Chitwood III, Chris Kokai, and Martha Moore.
Joie Chitwood III, President of the Daytona International Speedway, shared not only the Speedway’s origins, but future plans to turn the track into a year-round attraction. For the first time in over 50 years, the Daytona International Speedway is getting a facelift. From seating improvements to upgraded amenities, the $400 million Daytona Rising project is underway to transform the race track into the world’s first motorsports stadium. But that’s not the only project slated for the area. Chitwood also gave visitors insight into One Daytona, a 190-acre, $800 million mixed-use development across from the Speedway. As expected, developments of this size don’t come without their fair share of challenges. For Chitwood and his team, a major challenge is meeting a construction schedule while still being able to operate the race track. Nonetheless, Daytona Rising and the first phase of One Daytona are expected to finish on-time in 2016.
Just next door to the Daytona International Speedway, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is researching aviation innovation. Florida Test Bed Director of Operations Chris Kokai gave a detailed overview of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen. Part of the Florida Test Bed rapid prototyping initiative, NextGen aims to improve the airspace through technology “in ways that the general public may not notice.” Kokai and other researchers are modernizing air traffic control systems through homogenized data and better communication. Benefits for commercial airlines that bring tourists to Volusia County include more direct routes, increased fuel efficiency, and more frequent take-offs, all of which affect the way arrive at and depart airports like Daytona Beach International.
Just like aviation improvements, both local and regional infrastructure improvements will be needed to move residents and visitors around the county. That’s where Martha Moore, Vice President at Ghyabi & Associates, and her team come in as planning consultants for the International Speedway Boulevard Corridor Master Management Plan. Moore walked attendees through a variety of projects, including an additional pedestrian bridge and wider sidewalks connecting One Daytona with the Speedway, interchange improvements, an aesthetics master plan, and potential areas for multi-modal hubs.
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