Porsche departed from the traditionally product-oriented public announcements at this year’s L.A. Auto Show with news that the company plans to build a Porsche Experience Center in the city of Carson.
The facility, only the second in the country and the fifth in the world, will sit on a 53-acre section of land just off the 405 Freeway near the interchange with the 110 Freeway. Much of the space is currently the Dominguez Hills Golf Course and at one point the area was a landfill.
The proposed facility would feature a test track, a driving skills course, driving simulators, an athletic center, a restaurant, and of course, a Porsche showroom.
Porsche hopes to break ground on the center in the summer of 2012.
“We’re very excited about the prospect of having such a world-class facility in the City of Carson,” said Mayor Jim Dear.
The mayor said the project will help put the city of about 92,000 people on the map, and should help turn Carson into a destination rather than just an exit off the 405 Freeway.
“People who have never been to Carson before in their life will come,” Dear said.
The facility is a completely private venture with no public financing or tax incentives, Dear said. He hopes the facility and its presence in Carson will bring about 300 jobs to the area.
Porsche says the handling course at the Porsche Experience Center would allow instructors to simulate rain, ice or snow conditions, somethings Southern California residents might not otherwise encounter. Also planned is an off-road course, the better for Porsche to promote the handling capabilities of its SUV and all-wheel drive vehicles.
Dear also said the facility would have a young-adult component, teaching new drivers skills that will allow them to be “the safest driver they can be.”
The automaker is expected to submit to Carson’s planning department a formal application for the Experience Center next week. Once that department approves the plan, it will go before a nine-member planning commission made up of local residents.
The Carson City Council will then have final approval.
During the review process, the effect the facility could have on local traffic, air quality, noise pollution and the environment will be studied.
Porsche has already signed a lease with Watson Land Co., which owns the land for the proposed Experience Center.
Because the site was at once a landfill, the Environmental Protection Agency and California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control will have oversight of the land’s redevelopment.
The summer 2012 timetable for breaking ground is assuming there are no delays in the environmental remediation action plan.