On Sept. 12, James Rogers of Los Gatos turned in an application to amend the city’s general plan so he and other unnamed backers could build a 628-acre project that could include race tracks, a casino and an amusement park.
Rogers also turned in the financial information regarding some of the project’s investors, and expects to hammer out details over the next six to eight months.
Rogers didn’t give details regarding the investors or how much the initial planning process will cost, but said he has enough money lined up to build Spirit of California, a billion-dollar-plus venue that will include a 300-acre motorsports park, a hotel, casino and convention center, a marina along Sugar Cut, plus a golf course, amusement park and wine center.
A city-hired consultant, National Development Council, will verify if the initial group of investors Rogers has rounded up has the financial ability to buy the land and get the project through the planning process, as well as local and state government reviews.
National Development Council, an economic development consultant based in New York City with offices nationwide, including an office in Napa, will look at investors’ federal tax returns and bank account information.
The review is confidential, as outlined in the negotiating rights agreement approved by the City Council in March.
Rogers said the information he submitted to NDC represents more than enough money to get through the planning process.
“All we showed the city is enough to entitle the project,” he said. “What we’re going to do over the next six to eight months is redesign the project using information from our consultants.”
The general plan amendment application he took to the city two weeks ago includes a tentative layout of the site, which he has showed investors and consultants over the past year and is also on the project website, www.spiritofcalifornia.com.
Rogers said that consultants will complete environmental and traffic studies.
The land is outside of Tracy city limits and is designated by the city’s general plan as agricultural land. A general plan amendment is the first step in making that land available for commercial uses and a potential annexation into city limits.
Rogers and the city now will draw up a new exclusive negotiating rights agreement, which assures him that he will be able to buy the city-owned land just north of city limits. The new agreement will reflect the scope of Spirit of California, a much larger project than the one proposed by the former entity, Tracy’s California Blast, which started as just the motorsports park.
Rogers expects to have that agreement up for council approval on Oct. 16.
City Development and Engineering Services Director Andrew Malik said the agreement could be ready by then, or could be up for council review in November. It would be the council’s first formal look at the plan.
“That’s when he will show the full scope of what he wants to do,” Malik said.
Malik added that follow-up reviews include drafting a specific plan, which would include more details and more focused review than the general plan amendment. State-mandated environmental studies would follow.
“How we get there and how quickly we get there, I don’t have that answer yet,” Malik said. “There’s no rush to it. We want to be very methodical. Council wants it to be an informed decision. There are a lot of steps still to come.”