The Brazilian owner-operator of go-kart race track Orlando Kart Center (OKC) has plans to build new operations and kart storage space on the property in the coming months, and may target neighboring property for expansion in the future.
Located at 201 Parcel Lane, the 14-acre property lies within the Regency Industrial Park, just north of the Central Florida Parkway and S. Orange Avenue intersection, and west of Orlando International Airport.
The 0.7-mile track has hosted in recent years high-profile racing series the Florida Winter Tour, and the United States nationals for ROK Cup USA, a racing series launched by OKC owner Andre Martins. More than 49,000 customers visited the track last year, Martins said.
The track draws go-kart novices, recreational drivers and professional racers, the latter of whom commonly practice their driving technique using go-karts on small tracks like OKC. Veteran Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello, who lives locally and is a personal friend of Martins, frequents the Orlando track for practice and ROK Cup competitions.
Martins leased the 14 acres in 2009 to begin operating OKC, made an agreement to buy it in 2012 from then owner Taft-Vineland Properties, Inc., and acquired it in 2014 for $2.588 million.
"We keep expanding, I reinvest all the profits back into the company. After years we've just now been able to finalize our plans and apply for the permits," Martins told GrowthSpotter on Thursday. "I'm paying now to make sure everything is perfect."
The plans involve installing a new 4,000-square-foot metal roof over existing pavement, part of 42 new garage spaces for kart owners to rent and store their vehicles.
It also includes expanding the existing administration building by 1,730 square feet, where new employees will work specifically on managing the ROK Cup USA series.
The plans triggered a special exception on the property's zoning due to the expanded building square footage. This property was originally approved by Orange County for intensive drag racing, autocross and more. Martins will allow the county to exempt all those racing types except for the go-karts, and their 45 MPH engines.
His request should go before the Board of Zoning Adjustment on Dec. 1. Approval of a construction permit is pending the BZA and county commissioner approval.
Another garage building with 64 new kart spaces is planned to be built in early 2017, Martins said. In the long-term, a neighboring 33 acres owned by Taft-Vineland Properties may be targeted for acquisition to expand the track, he added.
Martins previously raced go-karts on a semi-professional level in Brazil, Europe and North America. He moved to the U.S. in 1999, began his career in go-kart track operations in Miami, and followed with stops in Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach before Orlando in 2009.
Clarence Hoenstine, principal with Hoenstine Enterprises LLC, is general contractor on the project, and Unroe Engineering is civil engineer.