Irwindale Speedway Sold to LA Developer, Could Turn Into Industrial Park

There are no plans to change anything about the iconic track—for now.
Larry Chen/Formula Drift

The land occupied by Irwindale Speedway has now been sold, with plans afoot to redevelop the site. The track’s future is uncertain, with the land long having been in the sights of commercial developers.

IDS Real Estate Group, a Los Angeles-based developer, purchased the 63-acre site and the transaction closed this past week, reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Financial details of the sale are not publicly available.

Concern for Irwindale Speedway itself stems from the fact that the track only holds a lease on the land rather than owning it outright. The land itself has long been discussed as a target for redevelopment. City officials approved a plan to build a mall on the site back in 2015, and as a result, the track was supposed to close at the beginning of 2018. Joyously, that never came to pass. The plan was scrapped, and the track stayed open, with former racer Tim Huddleston taking over management of the facility to this day.

However, with the new sale comes a new proposal for redevelopment. This time, the plan is to use a full 59 acres on the site and demolish the track in order to make way for 1.3 million square feet of space for industrial and commercial purposes. The submission has already been put forward to the city of Irwindale. City officials understand the new owners’ plan to go ahead with the development as proposed.

From the perspective of the track’s manager, though, there’s no cause for alarm. Speaking on the track’s future, Huddleston noted, “We have a lease there and we’re already working on extending it. Nothing has changed except where I send my rent check.” He sees no immediate changes on the horizon and says it’s business as usual for the time being.

The track has played host to NASCAR races over the years and has become a much-loved drift venue as well. It famously hosted the first-ever D1 Grand Prix outside Japan in 2003, drawing a sell-out crowd to boot. Irwindale also traditionally hosts the Formula Drift season finale every year, and its popularity has earned it the nickname, “The House of Drift.”

So, as it stands, Irwindale Speedway isn’t going anywhere just yet. However, with the new owners pursuing redevelopment with the local government, it seems that its days may be numbered. It’s sadly a common story for tracks that exist on leased land. Here’s hoping that Irwindale’s deus ex machina is lurking just around the corner.

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