2015-04-30 / Front Page

City leaders unsure of raceway owner’s sales strategy

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – City leaders are eager to do their part for the redevelopment of the former Sports Creek Raceway, but they aren’t sure what the property owner has in mind for the shuttered horse track, and they’re getting concerned.

“I was hoping they’d bring more to the table in terms of trying to market the site,” City Manager Adam Zettel said at a recent Swartz Creek Planning Commission meeting.

“We haven’t seen it listed anywhere and we haven’t had a lot of input from (the owners).”

Raceway Manager Chris Locking said the property, owned by Detroitarea resident David Tyner, has not been listed with a real estate broker.

“We’ve had contact with a number of brokers but it’s not listed yet,” said Locking. “We’ve had a lot of interest.”

Locking said he does not know if any potential buyers have made offers on the property.

“The city wants to see us maximize the value (of the property),” said Locking. “I understand that. It’s good for the tax base.”

Zettel said city officials have not had contact with the owner.

“We’ve only spoken with management,” he said.

“We’d like to work with them. We’d like to discuss possible, likely uses. What’s practical? What’s desirable?”

City officials also would like to rezone the 100-plus acres to expedite commercial development, if that’s what potential buyers are considering.

“How long can we stay in limbo?” asked Planning Commission Secretary Robert Florine. “How long can it sit vacant with no plan?”

“Forever,” answered Zettel.

Meanwhile, the property owner continues to pay taxes and an appeal of the property value is still pending before the state Tax Tribunal.

Track owners are asking the tribunal to rule that the true cash value is around $500,000.

A sales notice on the track’s website advertises the 106-acre property as “ideal for big box retailers, hospitals or educational facilities, entertainment, sports or horse racing complexes, distribution centers or developers.”

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