Former cola bottling plant to be home for indoor cart racing
By Sherri C. Ranta
Miami Kartdrome Inc., a family-fun complex featuring indoor miniature cart racing, is expected to open in a former Wynwood bottling plant by the end of the year and generate about 45 new jobs.
The $4.5 million project would be the state's first indoor go-cart track, promoters said. The complex would feature a quarter-mile track, an Italian restaurant, a cyber cafe, a gift shop, an arcade and conference rooms on a 3.2-acre site at 550 NW 24th St., said project principal Ramon Abreu.
"There are outdoor entertainment complexes such as these in Fort Lauderdale but you have to drive up there," he said. "We chose Miami as the site of the state's first indoor go-cart track."
The intent, Mr. Abreu said, is to entertain the entire family as well as provide sophisticated conference and meeting space for groups and companies looking for places that can provide unique "team-building" activities.
Mr. Abreu and partner Mauricio Comitre bought the former Royal Crown Cola Co. plant last year for $1.9 million from Miami Fashion Esquire Inc.
The site has about 55,000 square feet in four warehouses and 70,000 square feet suitable for parking. It takes up about three-quarters of a block between Northwest Fifth and Sixth avenues, Mr. Abreu said.
About 300 feet of the building back up to I-95, he said, and would be used for "built-in advertising" signage for the thousands of cars that pass daily. The plant, he said, has been vacant about five years.
"The city is very excited about this," Mr. Abreu said. "We've met with the mayor, commissioners and the empowerment zone chairman."
The site is in a portion of the Wynwood area known as the Fashion District and the Miami Empowerment Zone.
The partners intend to pump about $2 million into renovations, Mr. Abreu said.
Designed by architect Ronald Migoya, the project is to have an old-style Spanish plaza entrance with observation decks planned for the indoor track. The lobby would feature marble finishes, large TV screens and a high-tech camera system.
Miami Kartdrome Inc. will also feature on-site valet parking, Mr. Abreu said. He said he would also build a space for a workstation for Miami-Dade County police where officers take short breaks and do paper work.
Go-cart races, Mr. Abreu said, run from $18 to $25 a race and feature about eight minutes of racing time plus warm ups.
Many Miami-Dade County residents are racing fans, Mr. Abreu said, and he expects the complex to attract residents as well as tourists.
In addition to an upscale interior, Mr. Abreu said, the track and go-carts would have safety features such as electronic devices officials can activate to slow or stop the carts in the event of accidents.