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Dallas-based contractor picked for F1 racing venue
A Dallas-based company has been chosen as general contractor for the Formula One racetrack venue in southeastern Travis County, as local organizers push toward breaking ground by the end of the year on the $250 million project.

Austin Commercial is one of the largest construction management and general contracting firms in Texas.

Its high-profile Austin projects include the newly opened W Austin Hotel & Residences downtown, Advanced Micro Devices' office campus in Southwest Austin and the Long Center for the Performing Arts.

Facing a tight deadline to get the complex built in time for a 2012 inaugural race, the F1 organizers have stepped up efforts to get a construction team in place and bulldozers moving soon on the site, about 900 acres near the town of Elroy.

Hiring a general contractor is a crucial step toward that goal.

As general contractor, Austin Commercial will be in charge of assembling contractors and overseeing construction of the venue, which will include a 3.4-mile track, facilities for race teams, grandstands for 120,000 fans, and other hospitality and entertainment components that have not yet been announced.

"We are honored to be on board and to be a part of such an exciting and unique opportunity," said William McAdoo, senior vice president and general partner of Austin Commercial, a subsidiary of Austin Industries.

"This facility is sure to be a world-class venue that will draw visitors from around the globe, and we are excited to be part of the Formula One United States team as we work together to make history by constructing the first purpose-built Formula One track in the United States."

Austin Commercial has experience building a variety of facilities, including sports arenas, major office complexes and universities.

Austin F1 promoter Tavo Hellmund said his team considered some of the country's top general contracting firms for the job.

"In the end, the depth of Austin Commercial's local experience, diversity inclusion program and under-promise/over-deliver record made them a solid choice.

"We are pleased that Austin Commercial has joined the construction team and are confident that their years of general contracting expertise will ensure we continue to stay on track for the first event in 2012."

Advocates for local minority-owned contracting businesses have been pressing for assurances that they will have a chance to participate in the F1 project.

On its website, Austin Commercial notes that it has a corporate group specifically created to identify minority- and women-owned subcontractors and provide mentoring for those companies.

Also, the local F1 organizers recently hired an Austin consulting firm, Haynes-Eaglin-Waters, to assist with outreach to contracting firms owned by minorities and women that could be part of the project.

Hellmund and other organizers have been working for three years on bringing the race to Austin. Tilke GmbH, a German engineering firm, has completed the track design and already has people working in Austin on the project.

Last month, Hellmund said that Dallas-based HKS Inc. had been hired to design much of the Formula One complex, which will include other facilities besides the track and host events to make it a year-round destination attraction for the region.

HKS designed the Dallas Cowboys' $1.2 billion stadium that opened last year. The Statesman

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