Winter or not, Canadian Motor Speedway progresses

January 6, 2014 Updated Jan 6, 2014 at 2:42 PM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First Reporte

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January 6, 2014 Updated Jan 6, 2014 at 2:42 PM EDT

With its first phase completed, the developers of the Canadian Motor Speedway said they will be spending the winter months negotiating with architectural firms and working on other details connected to the planned $400 million Fort Erie auto racing track.

In other words, even if no construction is taking place due the winter weather, the project is still making progress.

"We are ready now to move to the second stage," said Ibrahim Abou Taleb, Canadian Motor Speedway CEO.

Central to the project is a signature speedway, designed by specs provided by famed racer Jeff Gordon. Taleb said several firms are reviewing the specs and a design firm will be selected soon.

Also under development is a detailed site plan that will be submitted to Fort Erie officials for final review.

Taleb hopes to see construction get underway by mid-summer of pre-grading and site alteration work, with the track still on target to open by mid-2016.

At $400 million, the track is the largest, private sector-fueled development in Fort Erie's history. The 65,000-seat grandstand will overlook an oval track and integrated road course aimed at hosting a number of different racing platforms including stock car and open wheeled cars.

The track is slated for a large swath of land just off the Queen Elizabeth Way and Bowen Road in Fort Erie.

Gordon is expected attend a formal ground-breaking ceremony this summer.

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