By PETER HUSSMANN
A Des Moines real estate developer who two years ago outlined to the Newton City Council a concept plan for development of land adjacent to the Iowa Speedway was the top bidder on two parcels of ground sold at auction by the Beukema family on Monday.
Al Rivers placed a $10,000 per acre bid for the purchase of approximately 20 acres of ground contained in two lots located south of the intersection of Iowa Speedway Drive and Interstate 80.
Last month, the Beukema family announced their intention to sell approximately 262 acres of ground near the Iowa Speedway that had been in the family for more than 60 years.
Rivers opted to purchase tract one, a 14.5 acre piece of ground described in the sale brochure as "an incredible location," and tract three, a 6.8 acre section described as an opportunity to 'own a piece of the rock,' i.e. a small tract adjacent to development properties and in the middle of the speedway activities," after entering the high bid.
At a Newton City Council meeting two years ago, Rivers presented design plans for what was being called Iowa Speedway Village, an area of ground immediately east of Iowa Speedway Drive south of the interstate and south of Rusty Wallace Drive.
Rivers told the council he had been working with land owner Stan Clement to put together the concept plan that included a wide array of possible developments, including a water park, retail, lodging, fast food and light manufacturing.