Thirty-three days after issuing a statement confirming its intentions to sell the Atlanta Dragway, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), in partnership with brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. (JLL) has officially placed the facility on the market — and its listing paints a more grim picture than initially told.
In its December announcement, NHRA representatives assured the racing community of its vision and intention to see racing continue at the Commerce, Georgia facility under new ownership; this of course would remain in line with the NHRA’s position as a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote safety and the sport of drag racing. In effect, it has to show an effort to sell to a well-intended buyer to ensure its tax-exempt status doesn’t come under scrutiny.
Said NHRA’s VP of Marketing and Communications Jeffrey Young in December: “We are a sanctioning body, and we have a responsibility to preserve and protect the sport, and so our intention is to sell the property as a drag racing facility and to keep the Southern Nationals there, as well. We need to invest in the Lucas Oil Raceway, in Gainesville Raceway, and in Pomona (which the NHRA leases) — drainage updates and upgrades to the facilities that we want to do on those three tracks. So we will use some of the proceeds of this sale to re-invest back into those tracks.”
Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc., however, makes significant note of the redevelopment opportunities for the 318-acre site, even highlighting its proximity to a recently-completed $2.6 billion manufacturing facility, the adjacent Hwy 441 and I-85, and its mixed-use potential for industrial, residential, and commercial building. No mention is made of the existing structures or its ongoing potential as a raceway.
Residential developments have already encroached on the Atlanta Dragway property in recent years, and in a story published Wednesday by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, further residential development of the raceway is a likelihood, given the explosive business growth in the area and, particularly, the opening of the nearby South Korean SK Innovations battery plant and all of the people that it employs.
Dragzine has sought comment from representatives at the NHRA and JLL and will update this story as information is made available.