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LINDEN, NJ-Developer Morton Salkind and his Secaucus, NJ-based Liberty Speedway Inc. have unveiled, before the city council here, a proposal to build a $400-million mixed-use project that would be anchored by a Nascar racing facility. The proposed site is a vacant, 140-acre industrial tract in this city’s Tremley Point section, located just off the New Jersey Turnpike.

The project is a continuation of Salkind’s effort to bring highly popular Nascar racing to the New York/New Jersey metro area. His first proposal, dating back a couple of years, was to build an auto-racing facility next to the existing Meadowlands Race Track, a horse-racing venue. That plan, while still technically on the table, is considered all but dead.

Salkind’s Liberty Speedway Inc. was also involved in the sweepstakes for redevelopment of the Continental Airlines Arena site (see earlier stories). The nod for that project, of course, went to the Mills Corp./Mack-Cali Realty partnership, although the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority’s decision is currently being challenged in court by Hartz Mountain Industries.

This latest proposal, which involves a former GAF industrial site about 15 miles south of the Meadowlands, encompasses a nearly one-mile Nascar track (the official length of a regulation Nascar track is 0.92 miles), along with grandstand seating for up to 100,000 spectators. The grandstand would be designed with an expansion capability for up to 140,000 people. Other components of the project, according to plans spelled out before the city council, include a 400,000-sf entertainment center and a 20-story hotel and conference center.

Initial reaction to the proposal was positive, although some city officials did express concern about traffic. To boost the project, Salkind, a former state assemblyman, indicated that he had lined up some celebrity support–notably actor and sometime race car driver Paul Newman, racing legend Mario Andretti and political pundit James Carville.

The financial details remain sketchy, although the project would be privately funded, according to Salkind. He has also reportedly told officials that this Union County community would get at least $10 million a year in host community fees, over and above any real estate and other taxes the facility would generate.

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