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Apr 24, 2018

Utah Motorsports Campus Up For Sale Once Again

Utah Motorsports Campus. Photo by David Swarts, copyright Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Utah Motorsports Campus, the motorsports facility formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park, has once again been put up for sale by its owners, Tooele County (Utah). 

In 2015, the Larry H. Miller Group, the builder and original owner of the racetrack, announced that it would not be renewing the lease on the 500 acres on which the track was located, effectively handing the $200-million facility over to Tooele County.

Since 2015, Tooele County has been trying to sell the motorsports facility to Mitime Investment & Development Group, a subsidiary of the Geely Group of Companies, which is the largest independent automobile manufacturer in China and also owns Volvo and several racetracks in China.

Mitime officials stated that they planned to continue and expand motorsports operations at the racetrack, use it to train personnel in track operations and motorsports engineering, and as a base to build racing vehicles. Mitime also pledged to actively promote Utah as a Chinese tourism destination. Mitime estimated that its planned $270 million investment in Utah Motorsports Campus would bring $1 billion in economic impact to Utah over 25 years.

The original sale was blocked by a lawsuit brought by Center Point Management, the losing bidder in the public sale of the property. Center Point Management argued that Tooele County violated local and state laws when it accepted Mitime's lower $20 million bid instead of Center Point Management's higher $22.5 million bid. 

The Tooele County Commission's position was that Mitime's plans for the facility would bring greater long-term benefits to the county than Center Point Management's plans, but the court ruled in favor of Center Point Management and stated that Tooele County had to sell racetrack and property for "fair value," which is the highest bid regardless of future benefits.

Since that ruling in 2016, Mitime has continued managing the re-branded Utah Motorsports Campus on behalf of Tooele County to preserve the value of the facility, to keep it operational, and to retain its key staff, tenants, sponsors and events. 

Tooele County, meanwhile, settled out of court with Center Point Management, paying the group $1.55 million for the promise that Center Point Management would not try to purchase the track in the future and would not try to interfere in any future sale of Utah Motorsports Campus. 

Covering their bases even further, Tooele County, with the help of Utah State Senator Wayne Harper had a new law passed that allows counties to consider future benefits in the sale of public properties, to sell certain properties for less than the highest offer, and to require potential buyers to provide proof of ability to pay and proof that "potential benefits are reasonably anticipated," according to www.tooeleonline.com.

The article states that Tooele County is now accepting bids to purchase Utah Motorsports Campus until July 2, 2018, and that the county will announce a winning bidder -- if there is one -- within 30 days of that date. The sale would then close within 30 days of the winning bid being accepted, meaning the sale could close by September.

Stay tuned.

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