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Lauth's Eaglepoint fattens up on racing teams

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The proximity of Lauth Group Inc.’s mammoth Eaglepoint Business Park in Brownsburg to Lucas Oil Raceway is making it an attractive destination for several drag-racing teams.

David Powers Motorsports, John Force Racing, Don Prudhomme Racing and Vance & Hines together occupy roughly 320,000 square feet of space at the park. But Vance & Hines’ presence will become much larger following its announcement in July that it will add 105,800 square feet by constructing a third building.

Lauth, an Indianapolis developer, began acquiring land in 1998 for the 400-acre business park south of Interstate 74 and East 56th Street, and north of U.S. 136. Eaglepoint attracted its first racing tenant in 2002, helping Brownsburg become a haven for numerous National Hot Rod Association teams.

Some tenants, including Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based Vance & Hines, have become so entrenched at the park that they’re now growing operations.

The manufacturer of after-market motorcycle tailpipes and drag-bike team owner is building a manufacturing and distribution facility at Eaglepoint.

The building is expected to be finished early next year and will be Vance & Hines’ third facility at the park. The company moved to the park in 2004 and occupied 18,000 square feet before expanding another 22,000 square feet in 2007. In 2009, the company added a second building, that one totaling 66,000 square feet.

The expansions have helped Vance & Hines grow its employee numbers in Brownsburg from 12 to 85.

Its Harley-Davidson race team and some of its manufacturing operations are at Eaglepoint. Moving the race team from California to Indiana has substantially cut time on the road, said Paul Langley, Vance & Hines’ senior vice president.

“If we were based in the Midwest, the race team would have 32 to 34 travel days less per year, which is significant,” he recalled as the motive for the move. “And obviously, one attraction is that [Eaglepoint is] just a few miles from Lucas Oil Raceway.”

The raceway is owned by the California-based NHRA and annually hosts the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the most prestigious race on its schedule, over Labor Day weekend.

Lauth didn’t develop Eaglepoint with the raceway in mind, but instead was attracted to the property because of its easy access to nearby interstates, the area’s strong work force and Brownsburg’s business-friendly climate, said Mike Jones, a partner and executive vice president with the developer.

Eaglepoint boasts 16 buildings consisting of 3.2 million square feet. About 100 of the 400 acres remain to be developed.

Non-racing tenants include Federal Express, Sur La Table, Guitar Center, Life Science Logistics, Snyder’s of Hanover and TJX Home Goods.

But its stable of racing teams are among the biggest and best-known in the industry. Besides Vance & Hines, they include David Powers Motorsports (40,000 square feet), Don Prudhomme Racing (48,000 square feet) and John Force Racing (127,000 square feet).

In addition, O’Reilly Auto Parts has a 565,000-square-foot distribution center there. The drag strip formerly was called O’Reilly Raceway Park.

Lauth’s Jones likened Eaglepoint to Gasoline Alley near Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where several IndyCar teams are based.

“It’s the nearest industrial park to Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont,” he said. “That was really the attraction [for the teams].”

The migration of teams to Brownsburg started in 2001 when Prudhomme was searching for new digs for his team, which had split time between its home base in San Diego and a satellite shop in Indianapolis. He chose the Hendricks County town because of tax and utility incentives for small businesses.

Prudhomme has expanded into another building and Force now occupies three. Force began expanding in Brownsburg in 2004 and now has 55 of his 75 employees working there.

The success of Eaglepoint has prompted other developers to “hitch their wagon to the momentum” and promote space to racing-related companies, Jones said.

Drivers Kenny Bernstein and brothers Cruz and Tony Pedregon have shops adjacent to Eaglepoint.

And Bill Simpson, one of the biggest names in motorsports safety and former owner of Brownsburg-based Impact Racing, has built four buildings nearby and leases most of the space to motorsports tenants.

“Clearly, there’s been a herd mentality,” Jones said.

Brownsburg has invested more than $200 million in the area since 2003. The investment appears to have paid off, as more than 25 NHRA teams have their headquarters there.

Cinda Kelley, executive director of the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership, said the cost of doing business in central Indiana is likely cheaper than California, where many were based.

And Kelley echoed Vance & Hines’ sentiments about location.

“We are in a day’s drive of 75 percent of all the racetracks in the nation,” she said. “When Vance & Hines added up all the time they spent on the road, Brownsburg can give them another month in the year.”
 

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