Race track, car condos set to open in Pontiac
Pontiac — The smell of asphalt being laid will soon turn into the aroma of burning rubber along Woodward.
The M1 Concourse — an 87-acre car enthusiast Mecca with a 11/2-mile race track, event space and car condos — will begin hosting activities later this month before officially opening in August.
That includes the Michigan Rib Fest in July and car enthusiast gatherings during Woodward Dream Cruise week.
“It’s a venue where anyone from the average guy on Woodward with a muscle car, to a guy who’s got a multimillion-dollar car collection can have something to do,” M1 Concourse founder and CEO Brad Oleshansky said as he looked at the track from a mezzanine of one condo.
Oleshansky and his partners are investing about $50 million to buy and develop the first two phases of the M1 Concourse, which is on the site of a former General Motors plant. Up to another $20 million is expected to be invested to complete the site, which will eventually include retail space.
The performance track as well as a 21/2-acre area known as a skid pad to test handling and outdoor event space will be completed in time for the grand opening Aug. 14. The first 80 of more than 250 car condos facing the track’s 1/3-mile straightaway are expected to be complete next month. Fifty more car condos are expected to be finished by year’s end.
About 130 of the car condos, or garages, have been sold, according to Oleshansky, with a few expected to be finished this year still available.
Car condo pricing ranges from $105,000 for 500 square feet to $650,000 for 3,000 square feet.
The road course track, he said, was a result of automakers and auto suppliers showing interest in renting the raceway for public and promotional events. The track features the straightaway and hairpin turns. It will be available to the companies, car condo owners as well as car clubs.
A retail space with restaurants on the southeast part of the property as well as additional car condos are expected to be built through 2018.
A car condo is anything an owner would like — from a place to store or work on cars to an event space for businesses.
“It’s a storage solution but really it’s about a community of man caves, or offices or entertainment space,” Oleshansky said. “You’re basically in a private group of people with the same interests.”
Despite similar interests, car condo owners have different ideas for their spaces — from a hot tub or retractable patio to car storage.
“People fall into a number of different categories,” said Jordan Zlotoff, a director of business development at M1 Concourse. “Some are a fusion: There’s the car museum-esque (or) entertainment/hospitality space ... Some want to use this as a very nice workshop — that’s probably the minority.”
Lavish condos in works
Car condo owners can select upgrades for their empty storage space such as mezzanines and lifts.
Some owners have hired experts such as Denise Lachman, an interior designer with Nolet Associates in Orchard Lake, to build out their car condos into lavish hospitality hangouts as well as car storage.
“This is going to be very contemporary and comfortable,” Lachman said on the mezzanine of her client’s condo. “I’m really excited about this project because this is a first for me. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Oleshansky said: “It will be amazing to see what people like Denise transform these things into.
“Really, sky’s the limit.”
Lachman, a self-proclaimed “car nut,” said plans for the garage include a bathroom, stadium seating facing the track, car art, large televisions and a wet bar.
Dream Cruise run-up
M1 Concourse will open a week before the Dream Cruise with events scheduled through the annual car celebration.
The opening, Oleshansky said, will kick off the newly-branded “Pontiac Power Week,” a festival of activities in the city leading up to the Dream Cruise on Aug. 20.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is soon expected to announce this year’s “Roadkill Nights powered by Dodge” will be hosted at the M1 Concourse and include shutting down a portion of Woodward in front of the facility.
Officials with the Motor Trend and Hot Rod magazines, which produce the online show “Roadkill,” have confirmed the location on social media but officials with the company declined to comment.
In 2015, more than 10,000 people attended the free event in the massive parking lot of the vacated Pontiac Silverdome. It included hundreds of classic and custom cars; thrill rides with professional drivers in Dodge Viper SRT and Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat models; and hours of drag races.
Tim Kuniskis, Fiat Chrysler head of passenger car brands for North America, previously told The Detroit News this year’s event will be significantly larger than last year’s.
“We’re doing a really, really cool event,” Kuniskis said. “It will be five times the size.”
The M1 Concourse is on the northwest corner of South Boulevard and Woodward. It was previously home to the General Motors Validation Facility, which was torn down in 2008. Before that, it was the site of the Pontiac West assembly plant.
M1 Concourse events
June 18: Cars and Coffee
July 1-4: Michigan Rib Fest
July 7: Cruise the Concourse Classic Car Show
Aug. 4-7: Extreme Experience Supercar Rentals
Aug. 14: Official Grand Open Celebration and Car Show
Aug. 17: Corvettes on Woodward — 1,000+ Corvettes
Aug. 18: Drive-In Movie Film Festival
Aug. 19: Roadkill Nights powered by Dodge
Aug. 20: Woodward Dream Cruise — HotRod Headquarters (food festival, car show, thrill rides, product demos and more)
More events, including open track days and driving schools will be announced over next few months. Check www.m1concourse.com for updates.