Baltimore's spending board to vote on Indy race contract UPDATE A plan to bring an IndyCar Series race to the streets around Baltimore's Inner Harbor is "expected to win city approval" today. Baltimore "will be poised to become a stop" on the series in August '11 "and for as many as four years after that." A loop of streets around the harbor "would be transformed into a race course for a three-day event," with a pit stop area to be located at Camden Yards Baltimore SUN
05/04/10 The city’s spending board will vote Wednesday to approve a contract with organizers behind a proposed Baltimore Grand Prix, potentially clearing a major hurdle for the group in its quest to host a large-scale race downtown for five years beginning August 2011.
Under the proposal, Baltimore Racing Development will pay the city $1.25 million over five years in an annual race fee. The city will also share in a percentage of revenue generated by the Baltimore Grand Prix beginning in the second year of the event.
The proposal also calls for $7.5 million in road upgrades to the 2.4-mile route spanning from Lombard to Russell streets. The federal government would contribute $5 million toward those improvements under a surface transportation program, according to the Board of Estimates’ agenda.
The remainder of the cost to improve roads would come from the Maryland Department of Transportation, if the plan is approved. The state would lend the funds to the city, which agrees to repay the amount over a six-year period.
The city would recoup its dollars from revenue-sharing agreement and race fee. In addition, Baltimore Racing Development will establish a charitable arm and be required to donate at least $100,000 each year of the race to local nonprofits.
The event could pump $60 million to $70 million annually into the local economy, race officials said. Around 150,000 spectators are projected to attend the three-day race Aug. 5-7. The event, with an operating budget between $13 million to $15 million, would generate revenue through sponsorships and ticket sales.
The Baltimore Development Corp. will present the contract to the Board of Estimates Wednesday on behalf of Baltimore Racing Development. If approved, race officials expect a sanctioning agreement to be reached with the Indy Racing League shortly thereafter.
“The first thing for us to get the Indy agreement is to knock down the city agreement,” Jay Davidson, chief operating officer for Baltimore Racing Development, said in an interview with the BBJ Monday. “We think after that we’ll be able to get an agreement with Indy.”
City officials on Monday were also optimistic the deal would get approved Wednesday.
"I'm pretty confident it will get approved," said Kaliope Parthemos, assistant deputy mayor of economic and neighborhood development for the city. “The minute we stepped into the [Mayor's] office it was all hands on deck to get this deal done."
Parthemos said the city has received letters of approval for the race from the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, Harbor Walk Townhouse Association, Ridgley's Delight and Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc.
The Baltimore race would be one of 17 on the IRL’s annual circuit.
A spokeswoman with the IRL said the league would provide a comment after Wednesday’s vote.
Read more: Baltimore's spending board to vote on Indy race contract - Baltimore Business Journal