Demolition underway at Hazel Park Raceway site for new development

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The thundering sound of hoof beats at the shuttered Hazel Park Raceway is gone and given way to the mechanical noise of trucks and bulldozers as workers demolish all the buildings at the former horse track. Demolition got underway earlier this month and is expected to finish sometime in November, said Hazel Park City Manager Ed Klobucher. The horse barns are already torn down. The former Clubhouse — where customers ate, drank, gambled and watched the races for 69 years – is the largest building on the site still standing, but demo work there will start in a couple of weeks.
The raceway closed suddenly April 5 and several weeks later its 95 acres were bought by Ashley Capital.
Earlier, Ashley Capital constructed a 575,000-square building called the Tri-County Commerce Center at 1400 E. 10 Mile Road on the first 36 acres of land it bought from raceway owners Hartman and Tyner, Inc, in 2015.
The $36 million building is home to Amazon.com, LG Electronics and Bridgewater Interiors.
Plans now are for Ashley Capital to build two more massive light industrial buildings on the race track land once it is cleared. “One of the two new buildings will be as large as the Tri-County Commerce Center and the other one will be almost double that size,” Klobucher said.
Hazel Park is already collecting about $250,000 annually in new taxes on the Tri-County building and city officials expect more tax revenue from the new Ashley Capital developments. Jeff Campbell, head of Hazel Park’s planning and economic development, said the new development is expected bring about 700 more jobs to the city.
The tax money the city gets from the developers on the Tri-County property is about 20 percent of what it will get when brownfield tax credits expire in another 20 years, city officials said. Brownfield tax breaks are given to developers to offset costs of cleaning up contaminated sites. Klobucher said the developer is expected to get Brownfield tax breaks on the two new buildings. Much of the land on which the raceway was built was formerly a large commercial trash-dumping site.
“For the city the new development is an economic benefit,” he said. “It will increase our tax base, create jobs for the region and remediate an environmentally challenged site.”
By Mike McConnell mmcconnell@digitalfirstmedia.com; @mmcconnell01 on Twitter

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