Automotive technology and Washington State go hand in hand. Just ask Jason Fiorito, whose grandfather built Pacific Raceways in 1959. Home to some of the best professional and amateur racing in the Northwest, the huge expanse of real estate surrounding the track is being transformed into a multiphase auto technology and research facility.

Renamed the Pacific Motorsports Park and Innovation Center, the $25 million project will add a range of new facilities to support the development and testing of new transportation technologies such as alternative fuels and autonomous vehicles.

“Not only will we cater to the traditional motorsports industry, but we will attract a new industry into our state — things like research and development and prototype manufacturing,” said Fiorito, president of Pacific Raceways. “We envision a tech campus, and I believe we can attract more innovation companies than traditional motorsports companies, and I believe this is going to be the magnet that kind of redefines our Evergreen state.”

The first phase of the project broke ground in August. About half of the 200,000 square feet of manufacturing and garage space under construction has already been leased. The master plan for the property maps out 1.2 million of additional square feet of commercial, lab and garage space.

The project is one of four “Projects of Statewide Significance” designated by the Washington State Department of Commerce. The special designation recognizes projects that are of “significant economic benefit” that qualify for expedited permitting.

The track will remain open during phase one of construction, which is expected to last three years.

Read all about it in Seattle Business magazine.