KANSAS CITY, KAN. Promising to make the most of the new Kansas Speedway's prime location, Zimmer Management Co. won approval Thursday as the master developer of a 400-acre tourism destination adjoining the auto racetrack.
Restaurants, hotels, office space, shops and an "entertainment mall" are contemplated by the Kansas City, Mo., company for the valuable tract owned by the Unified Government of Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County. The site lies at the intersection of Interstates 70 and 435.
With Thursday's award of the development contract by the Unified Government Commission, Zimmer Management now can begin seeking tenants. Announcements of at least some tenants could come by the end of the year, company vice president William F. Crandall said.
Groundbreaking for the $500 million project is planned for early July 2001, Crandall told the commission. The first big event of the track's inaugural year an Indy Racing Northern Light Series race is set for July 8.
"And we hope to invite you to dinner at one of the new restaurants in late September," he added a reference to the NASCAR Busch Grand National race set for Sept. 29 and the Winston Cup race the next day.
Zimmer Management, part of the 50-year-old Zimmer Cos. development and management firm, was among six companies from around the country that responded to the Unified Government's request for proposals for the site.
The company is best known in the Kansas City metropolitan area for its development of office and industrial parks. It served as master developer of the 18-building, 4 million-square-foot Sprint Corp. world headquarters under construction in Overland Park.
For the Kansas Speedway site, Zimmer Management has enlisted two partners: the Dallas office of The Hillier Group, whose architects include the designer of the Sprint campus; and the Boston firm of D'Agostino, Izzo & Quirk, whose designs include Boston's Fanueil Hall Marketplace, Chicago's Navy Pier and New York's SouthStreet Seaport.
Those two firms will help Zimmer Management transform 400 acres of farmland into a complex that will attract not only Kansas Speedway patrons and area residents but tourists passing the site on Interstate 70, Crandall said.
Centerpieces of the development will include two or three hotels, probably of the category that includes Marriott and Embassy Suites, as well as restaurants like The Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse.
Crandall was asked about rumors that Bass Pro Shops was set to build one of its mammoth outdoor and sporting goods outlets at the site.
"We'd be delighted with a Bass Pro Shop," but there is nothing to announce about any tenant yet, Crandall said. Similar stores such as Maine-based L.L. Bean also would be good candidates, he said.