Group plans auto-themed project for Park of Commerce
By April M. Havens
A group of 20 passionate car collectors and racing fans, united under the name Speedway Commerce Park, hopes to spark progress at Homestead's Park of Commerce with an eight-building luxury and collector car-centric development to be built on 14 acres purchased from the city last year.
The anchor building, a 60,000-square-foot exotic and collector car storage facility with a seven-car living automobile museum, has planning and zoning approval.
The building permit application is to be presented next month, with groundbreaking scheduled for January, partner Bob Zinzell said.
The building, whose expansive glass wall is to face the Homestead-Miami Speedway, is to include a small motor sports café, private entrances to car storage facilities from the common area and a place for corporate events.
"This will be a place where car guys are welcome," Mr. Zinzell said.
The seven-car showroom is to feature a diverse mix of cars from super-luxury vehicles to pop-culture race cars. Display cars are to rotate as they're used on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course during weekends and to reflect corporate events.
"If someone wants to have a private party there, we can put his cars in the museum and he can use the café to cater the event," Mr. Zinzell said, noting each car will be displayed in an artistic fashion, with lifts and careful positioning.
David Croft, a collector living in Denver, visits Homestead about once a year but hopes to come three or more times a year once his eight cars are housed in the new facility.
"The facility they are putting together is top of the line, and it's a great location to have a car," Mr. Croft said, noting the site's proximity to the speedway. "They've seen the vision and are behind it 100%."
City Manager Curt Ivy said he's excited to see the project begin. "The architecture is unique," he said.
Architect Florian Huttl, principal of CSFH Design LLC, said his design is meant to complement the speedway. During the planning phase, he said, he looked to several European buildings that serve similar purposes for inspiration.
The group hopes to fill the other seven sites, which already include private road infrastructure, with luxury car modification warehouses, restoration centers, carbon fiber (used to make racing vehicles) assembly, and race teams.
By utilizing the property's location in a federal foreign-trade zone, the group is seeking contracts with European car manufacturers such as Lamborghini by which cars would be sent to a warehouse for modifications and then shipped to South America. Racing teams could use other warehouse space to store equipment and work on race cars, Mr. Zinzell said, noting he has seen interest from several race teams.
Mr. Zinzell said he believes the gated development will spark more developments in the long-struggling Park of Commerce, and a lot of those could be auto-related. Since this development will cater to the luxury clientele, he said there's plenty of room for parts dealers and other service providers.
"It would certainly make sense for some automotive-related industry there," Mr. Ivy agreed.
He said many have been waiting for development activity to begin at the commerce park, which attracted only Silver Eagle Distributors and Contender Boats after the City of Homestead bought the land in 1993.
The city has since sold all the property to developers.