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Local News

Chicagoland Speedway warehouse plan meets resistance

Chicagoland Speedway wants to add warehouses on unused land outside the racetrack.
Chicagoland Speedway wants to add warehouses on unused land outside the racetrack.

A NASCAR plan to use extra land at its speedways for logistics development may clash in Joliet with a new reluctance at city hall to allow warehouses that need access to Route 53.

Chicagoland Speedway's plan for a local warehouse project met resistance last week from the Joliet City Council Economic Development Committee.

Committee Chairman Larry Hug told speedway representatives last week that recent approval of the NorthPoint Development plan and its closed-loop road network "sets a new standard" to keep trucks off of Route 53.

The Chicagoland Speedway project located near Route 53 would appear to need access to the highway.

The NASCAR-owned speedway in Joliet is partnering with Hillwood Investment Group to develop 2 million square feet of warehouses space on unused land outside the track.

The Joliet track is not the only NASCAR speedway where unused land is being eyed for logistics development, Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock said.

"They're looking at this at all 16 tracks," Paddock said.

Plans for Joliet were presented to the Economic Development Committee on Wednesday.

"We've got a 20-year history here with Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway," Paddock told the committee. "We're very proud of the impact we've made."

The warehouse proposal is scheduled to go to the Plan Commission later this month for review and eventually would need City Council approval.

But Hug cast doubt on the project, saying new warehouses "that are on (Route) 53 and west should not be allowed to exit onto 53."

Several council members, including Mayor Bob O'Dekirk, said the city should pursue a new policy on warehouse development after approving the controversial NorthPoint Development plan in April.

The NorthPoint plan is designed with what the developer called a "closed-loop" system that would keep trucks off of Route 53 when moving between warehouses inside the development and the intermodal yards in Joliet and Elwood.

"I think everybody, including myself, said it sets a new standard," Hug said. "It's not no to industry. It's roll up your sleeves. We have to get a lot more serious about it."

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