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Raceway Ridge developers to drop bid for sales tax incentive

Development plans will proceed with help from Buxton Report

Published: Friday, March 14, 2014 11:19 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, March 14, 2014 11:21 a.m. CST

The City of Newton and developers of the Raceway Ridge project on the north side of Iowa Speedway announced Thursday afternoon they will not seek an Iowa Reinvestment District designation from the state.

“The applications for these reinvestment districts are due to the State tomorrow, and the plan is for Premier [Development, owners of Raceway Ridge] to not submit an application during this round of funding,” City of Newton Director of Finance & Development Bryan Friedman said. “As the program evolves, an application would likely be submitted in the future.”

Troy Strawhecker of Premier Development, one of the partners in the ownership of the land and the city’s primary contact on the Raceway Ridge development, said plans to develop all 66 acres of land adjacent to Iowa Speedway would continue. He said the uncertainty and timing of the Iowa Reinvestment District program led them to decide to forego applying for the sales tax incentive.

“The City of Newton’s investment in retail data, in conjunction with our own studies on feasibility, give us confidence that we will be making announcements on project size and scope before summer is complete,” he said.

Friedman said city leaders were “pleased” Premier Development will keep working on the project. He said a number of other incentives could come into play down the road, but the developer had confidence in their plans as a result of the city’s Buxton Study.

“The strongest incentive for any company is a profitable market in which to do business, and I think that with the investment that the city has made in the Buxton data, we can make a compelling case to businesses that Newton would be a successful market for them,” he said. “Additionally, our traditional local incentives, such as our City-wide tax abatement program, the Speedway-Prairie Fire TIF District, and the Newton Development Corporation revolving loan fund, along with other state programs, could play a role in filling gaps and helping projects to happen in Newton.”

Daily News Editor Bob Eschliman may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at