What Did Penske Pay For Indianapolis Speedway? [Fact Checked!]

It’s always nice when a company spends money on something that will benefit the whole community. It’s even nicer when that company is known for being frugal. What did Penske pay for Indianapolis Speedway? Let’s take a look.

New Oval

Back in 2012, Penske paid $4.9 million for the right to build a new oval. The project was estimated to cost $16.7 million to $19 million. When the project was announced, it was said that the new oval would be 3.8 miles long. That makes it the third-longest oval in the history of the Indianapolis 500. It also means that they had to tear down part of the old one. The new oval has a bermuda triangle-shaped infield and a 7,500-seat main grandstand. It also comes with a fully accessible $3 million historical display. The $4.9 million they spent on the new oval was more than enough to cover the estimated cost. It also came with a $1.3 million rebate from the State of Indiana. Overall, the new oval project added up to be around $16.3 million in value.

New Street Circuit

When the new mayor of Indianapolis, Joe Hogsett, took office in 2015, one of his chief policy goals was to renovate the city’s premier sports and cultural venue, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The new IndyCar racing circuit they built came with a price tag of around $30 million. The project, which also included a museum, was put together in partnership with the National Speedway Tourist Authority. The new street circuit is 2.9 miles long and includes 10 turns. While the idea behind the new asphalt track was to create a world-class venue for auto racing, it also comes with a fully accessible $6 million interactive historical display.

Penske invested around $4.9 million in the project. It got a return on investment through ticket sales and hotel stays. The business jetport also saw a boom in business as a result of the upgraded track. Overall, the new street circuit came with a price tag of around $31.9 million, not including the cost of the land. That makes the investment quite profitable.

State-of-the-Art Technology

Penske also invested quite heavily in the upgrade of the grandstands, which is where you sit when you’re at a sporting event at Indy. They spent $3.5 million on 60 new premium seats in the first tier and another $2.8 million on new flooring. What’s great about the new seats is the fact that they’re all premium: fully equipped with arms, floor-to-ceiling glass, and personal screens.

What’s more is that the upgraded grandstands are also equipped with the very latest technology. In addition to the personal screens, each seat comes with a tiny projector that shows overhead shots of the track as well as real-time data on speed and weather. That means you can follow the activities of your favorite driver without missing a moment of the action. Overall, the new seating project added up to be around $7.3 million in value.

While all of the above was considered an investment in the community, not all of it was necessarily good for the corporate bottom line. Penske spent around $4.5 million on new signs and billboards around the track to promote the company and its products. That’s a lot of money to pay just for marketing. It also seems like a lot of cars and trucks to haul around in a form of transportation for employees. The company leased a fleet of 30 luxury vehicles for the Indy 500 race weekend. That, too, is an expense. Overall, the new signage project added up to around $16.5 million in value.

Boost to Development

Penske’s biggest return on investment came from the development of properties around the track. The most expensive of these is the $25 million Renaissance World Plaza, which houses the luxury hotels of the Hampton by Hilton group. The Hilton family spent over $12 million to buy and renovate 19 floors of the 100-story skyscraper. The top three floors are restaurants and bars. The rest of the building is luxury hotel rooms. When the project was completed, the Hampton family handed over the keys to the new hotel, saying they would never stay there again due to the high rates. That, however, was before the recession hit. Since then, the hotel has become a bit of a cheap-stay paradise, drawing a wide range of budget-conscious travelers.

Across the street, the historic Hotel Indianapolis was also purchased and renovated by Penske. The company spent $11.5 million to buy the historic hotel and a further $6.5 million to renovate it. The hotel went through a major face-lift and included a new roof, air conditioning, and plumbing. The renovation kept much of the original design elements, such as the exposed brick walls and wooden floors. Now, guests can enjoy high-speed internet access, luxury appointments, and attentive service. Overall, the hotel renovation added up to be around $17.5 million in value.

More Than Meets The Eye

Investments in the community don’t always yield positive results. When the new Mayor Hogsett took office in 2015, he set about improving the city’s parks and open spaces, especially those that were at risk of flooding during heavy rainstorms. During one such storm in 2017, several acres of land were overtaken by a muddy mess. It took several months to clean up after the flood waters receded. Overall, the cost of cleaning up after the flood was estimated to be around $14.5 million.

In the center of the city, the public square known as Market Square was equally as important as the two venues mentioned above. It was originally considered part of the IndyCar Grand Prix, but the economic downturn prevented the organizers from holding the race there, so it was eventually turned into a gathering space for events and festivals. In 2018, it was named in honor of Victor and Edna Maurer, who were instrumental in the revival of Indianapolis as a major cultural and sporting center after the Great Depression. Overall, the square’s renovation added up to be around $13 million in value.

Investments in the community are important because they give a positive return on an investment in the form of enhanced local living. When all is said and done, the return on investment in Joe Hogsett’s Indianapolis is around $81 million. That’s quite the ROI.

The numbers don’t lie. It’s clear that Penske made the right decisions and invested the right money in the right places. That’s what makes this article so unique—instead of just looking at the final outcome and declaring it a success, we can examine how each individual project played a part in making the city a better place to live and an even more desirable place to visit. Joe Hogsett might not have been able to achieve everything he set out to do on his own. However, with the help of companies like Penske, he was able to upgrade a lot of the city’s infrastructure and make a real difference. The question is, will he leave a lasting legacy behind?

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!