UPDATE 07/27: The site for Formula One Austin has been released: http://www.statesman.com/business/future-f1-site-revealed-825045.html. The site is located in Southeast Travis County, East of Toll 130 and just south of 71.
According to the press, it appears that our hometown of Austin, Texas will be the host city for the Formula One United States Grand PrixTM. Formula One has been absent from the US since 2007. Although F1 was around for years in the US prior to 2007, this will be the first time a facility is constructed from the ground up specifically for Formula One in the US. I know nothing about car racing of any kind, but to me, this sounds like a big deal. It prompts me to ask the question – What will this do for Austin real estate?
In my ponder, I did a little research. First, what is Formula One-I mean I get that it is car racing…but beyond that, is it another NASCAR? How many people would this grand event bring to Austin? What is the demographic of people it would bring to Austin? And, where would it be? All relevant questions to answering my ultimate question of how it would affect Austin real estate.
What is Formula One?
First thing I learned about F1 is that it isn’t NASCAR. Beyond the look and components of the cars being different, so are the fans. According to Wikipedia, Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing with speeds up to 220 mph and cars capable of pulling in excess of 5 g on some corners.The season is a series of races known as Grand Prix held on purpose-built circuits/roads (what they would be building in Austin comes at a $250 million price tag). Europe is Formula One’s stomping ground and where the teams are based but more than ½ of the Grand Prix races are held all over the world-now including Austin, Texas!
What is the Formula One demographic?
Again, not NASCAR. Wikipedia claims that Formula One is the world’s most expensive sport and is high profile. As opposed to the NASCAR reputation of appealing to, as About.com put it, “a bunch of yokels”, Formula 1 has the reputation for appealing to a highly educated population. It is declared that Formula One is the absolute pinnacle of motor racing in the area of car technology. The teams often spend nearly half a billion dollars per year building cars for 18 races. The drivers, claimed to be the best drivers in the world, earn millions.
How many people would Formula One bring to our small city?
Beyond being high profile, the F1 appears to be extremely popular as well. It attracts a global television audience of 600 million per race. Statesman.com mentioned in a recent article that in Indianapolis, F1 brought crowds from 90,000 to 225,000. Beyond just spectators, the Austin Formula One would likely bring new jobs. Each F1 team requires staff to prepare the car, run the media operation, do sponsorship activities, etc-not to mention the staff required to operate the facilities.
Where would the Austin Formula One be located?
It is being talked about that F1 Austin would be built in Southeast Austin near highways 130 and 71.
If you are like me, and knew nothing about Formula One when you started reading-there you have it. The only thing left to ask is…What does it mean to Austin?
I translate all of this to mean a significant economic impact to Austin. And, with high profile audiences and racers …my speculation is that it would bring hundreds if not thousands of new homebuyers to Austin. Perhaps many of these would be second homes and condos, certainly a number of them would be international buyers and most likely a good share would be permanent homes purchased by those who move here employed by the F1 Austin organization.
I would also speculate that prices will go up near the racetrack with an increased demand for property in the area due to a new demand for hotels and other lodging, restaurants and infrastructure.
All in all, I see F1 to be a good thing for Austin and Austin real estate. Who knows, maybe it is something new to get into! My interest is piqued. How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Provide your comments below.