Electric kart racing operator speeding into Noblesville

August 7, 2013
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Electric go-kart operator K1 Speed Inc. is asking the city of Noblesville to allow it to transform a vacant industrial building into an indoor racing center featuring a pair of high-tech tracks.

K1 Speed's "Arrive and Drive" kart races"Arrive and Drive" races cost about $20.(Photo courtesy of K1Speed.com)

Its sights are set on the former Helmer Scientific headquarters at 14395 Bergen Blvd., in the Saxony Corporate Campus near Interstate 69. Helmer, which makes laboratory equipment and refrigerated products, moved to a larger facility across the street last year.

California-based K1 Speed runs 17 kart racing centers, mostly in its home state and Texas. The closest to Indianapolis: two in suburban Chicago .

The Noblesville location—its first in Indiana—is expected to open in late September, pending necessary approvals from the Noblesville Plan Commission and the city’s Common Council.

The 71,000-square-foot building wouldn’t need any structural modifications, according to K1’s request for the so-called “special consideration” required for indoor recreation uses in the industrial/office area.

In an application letter, company owner David Danglard described a “state-of-the-art” racing facility with two tracks, each about a third of a mile of twists, turns and speed-building straight-aways.

The Italian-made, high-performance karts are capable of going much faster than the 30 mph maximum speed, he wrote, but the limit is enforced electronically. Every lap is monitored, and operators can remotely controlling every kart on the track when needed for safety.

Computerized timing and scoring systems let drivers track their progress—and their competition. And the electric karts emit no fumes. Or noise.

K1 Speed typically targets industrial areas to be close to its biggest clients: corporations that use the facility for team building and special events.

When the center is not booked for a private party, it’s open to the public for 10-minute “Arrive and Drive” sessions. Both a 14-lap adult race and a 12-lap junior race (for drivers younger than 18) cost about $20, according to the company’s website. Discounted multi-race packages are available, too.

Like its brethren, the Noblesville facility also will sell refreshments (prudently non-alcoholic), racing apparel and memorabilia. It is expected to employ 40-45 people.

K1 Speed’s  proposal is set for a public hearing at the Noblesville Plan Commission’s Aug. 19 meeting. Commissioners will make a recommendation to the council, which makes the final decision.

So what’s your take on the idea, North of 96th-ers? Do you feel the need for speed?

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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