NJMP: Chapter 11 / Foreclosure Update

New Jersey Motorsports Park

New Jersey Motorsports Park last week announced it had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, a move that caused some in the local and racing communities to question the facility’s future viability.

On Monday, NJMP, which hosts AMA Pro Racing (American Superbike, Daytona Sportbike, Supersport, XR1200 Series), released further details on its financial restructuring, and sought to clarify the circumstances and expected results of its recent actions.

NJMP Management and Ownership Changes

One of the ramifications of the recent filing is a future change to the ownership structure planned to coincide with the effective date of plan confirmation and reorganization.

Lee Brahin, the Philadelphia-area real estate developer who led and oversaw the development of the entire facility, will increase his ownership stake, and will become co-managing partner of NJMP. Harvey Siegel, who has employed his expertise in running multi-use motorsports facilities such as his Virginia International Raceway to great effect at NJMP, will retain his ownership stake and will continue to work on future development concepts and activities while fostering relationships within the racing community for the Park’s benefit.

Former minority owner RJ Valentine will up his stake to a more significant holding, becoming co-managing partner with Brahin and assuming managerial responsibility for marketing activities at the Park.

NJMP has worked with its lender to restructure the terms of its financing agreement, providing a reduced principal balance and lower debt service – the net effect of which is that the facility will have more cash on hand for operations.

Lee Brahin, who to date has been instrumental in creating the vision for the park, master-planning and execution of permitting processes and construction, will continue to work on development activities, entitlements and high level financial and business activities of the enterprise.

Lee Brahin says: "We have worked in cooperation with our lender and have come up with a structure that we feel will maximize long-term value to all of the various stakeholders in the business while providing continued and expanded world-class service to our customers, Within that structure and plan, we appreciate their strong confidence in existing management.

"I look forward to my continued involvement in existing management during our reorganization process as well as being involved in the future management team which will feature an array of new and successful entrepreneurs with an history of success and involvement in both the automotive and racing worlds. Truly, this will be the ‘A’ team.

"We’ve made what I think very many of our fellow Millville and Cumberland County businesses would call a significantly positive economic impact in the region, and will continue to build partnerships around South Jersey. The more events we hold, the more of our spectators’ and participants’ dollars are spent in Cumberland County, and we will strive to be ideal ‘anchor tenants’ for the region, as we’d say in the retail development business."

Motorsports and Entrepreneurial Expertise

RJ Valentine has a long history of entrepreneurship and vast experience in the motorsports facilities business, including running two racing businesses that have weathered the financial storm of 2009-10, F1 Boston and F1 Outdoor.

In a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Valentine’s marketing focused-ventures have included a network of highly profitable Jiffy Lube franchises, a Massachusetts-wide insurance operation, and extensive management roles in aviation, transportation and oil and gas companies.

RJ Valentine says: "While bankruptcy is always an unpleasant experience," Valentine commented, "it is a tool for businesses to use in restructuring its debt. Our mortgage lender has been fantastic in working with us to restructure the debt that NJMP assumed to get our facility built and operating.

"Like our lender, I have full confidence in my partners’ – Lee Brahin and Harvey Siegel – abilities, leadership and vision. We are now strongly positioned to grow and increase our economic impact within the South Jersey community, and are excited to get into executing our marketing plans."

"We’ve built an incredible management and operational team here, including our General Manager Brad Scott, who came to us with years of experience with Aramark, having overseen operations at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Fenway Park in Boston and Camden Yards in Baltimore. Brad and his team have continued to build NJMP’s event schedule and membership through two of the toughest years, economically, of the past couple of decades, and they deserve a great deal of credit for that."

New Jersey Motorsports Park features several high-impact racing events on its 2011 Calendar, including the return of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, AMA Pro Superbike Championship, ARCA Racing Series and the New Jersey Vintage Grand Prix, which will include a performance by the legendary US Navy Blue Angels.