Monday, June 28, 2010

New life looms on horizon for Circuit City site

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

FAIRFIELD - A go-cart race track could fill the spot of departed retailer Circuit City, under a new plan.

Driven Raceway, which already operates one track in Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, has received initial permits to convert the former electronics store, which closed in 2008. Current plans call for construction to start in early July and take about three months, leaving a grand opening somewhere in 'late fall, early winter,' Chief Executive Matt Stearn said...

Driven Raceway uses carts with electric motors on an indoor track. Stearn said closed retail stores seem to work well -- their Rohnert Park track replaced a Linens 'n Things store -- because they provide large indoor spaces and are typically located in areas that already have commercial traffic.

Company officials hope to install private rooms for birthday parties and corporate events, said Chief Operating Officer Rod Towery. It will also have a snack bar, albeit one that is scaled-down from what they currently operate. The Circuit City site is slightly smaller than their existing facility, and the Gateway Plaza shopping center is also rich with eating establishments...

The interest is a sign that the economy is recovering, Economic Development Director Curt Johnston said during an early June interview. He said he believes it has taken as long as it has because companies interested in expanding during a recession concentrated on larger markets first.

'We are a smaller market and the companies that have been occupying space are first responding to the opportunities in the larger markets,' he said.