According to a story posted by the Cleveland Daily Banner on December 18th, a Chattanooga area real estate development firm appears poised to take possession of the property where the historic Cleveland Speedway currently sits. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chattanooga could decide the track’s fate as early as Thursday morning at 10:00am.
Marcus D. Lyons of Real Estate Partners of Chattanooga has, according to filed documents, bid $1.1 million for the property. Further, there was a real estate purchase agreement made on November 15th between the realtor and Cleveland Speedway bankruptcy trustee Jerrold Farinash. However, the trustee does not affix his signature to that document until the sale is approved by the court.
The third-mile dirt oval was originally built in 1954 and has contested races on a continuous basis since then. At one time, the track was owned by the legendary Joe Lee Johnson, first winner of the World 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Recently, the facility was operated as a partnership between Monty Morrow and Ronnie Willkomm between 2004 and 2011. The track filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in 2011, at which time Willkomm became the sole operator. After that filing, the track was given a time period of two years to show that it could turn a profit and make progress toward settling its debts.
The court made the decision to sell the property in order to settle those debts and action was to have been taken on December 12th. However, a delay was called for on that date when Farinash declared that bidders “I hadn’t really heard much from in the last several weeks” re-emerged. Those bidders seemingly have interest in maintaining the track for racing.
Lyons is president of the Lyons Group, Inc. which has dealt with multifamily and commercial real estate in Tennessee for the past three years. Two of that firm’s major Chattanooga urban projects are Bridgeview on Chattanooga’s North Shore and Museum Bluffs, which houses both apartments and businesses.