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Growing Kart Track Operator Snaps Up Space Near Los Angeles as Part of Major Expansion

K1 Speed Bets on 'Pent-Up Demand for Something Fun'

Indoor kart track operator K1 Speed is expanding across California as it bets on a growing desire for fun among a population that has largely lived under stay-at-home restrictions since the onset of the pandemic last year.

K1 Speed has leased a 50,000-square-foot industrial space in Thousand Oaks, California, for its newest location as part of an expansion. Brokers at Lee & Associates, which represented the landlord and tenant, said the company signed a 10-year, $7.5 million lease for the space at 770 Lawrence Drive in the Ventura County city northwest of Los Angeles.

“Given there are no other indoor racing venues currently operating nearby, this is an ideal place for K1 Speed as they continue their aggressive expansion plans throughout California and beyond,” said Lee & Associates Vice President Rocky Moran in a statement, adding that "with more than 50 locations already, this was a natural addition for what is now, with COVID, a pent-up demand for something fun.”

K1 Speed, based in Irvine, California, launched in 2003 and bills itself as the world’s largest electric indoor karting operator, with spaces also rented out for special events and corporate gatherings. The company in 2018 initially announced plans for a significant expansion and now operates in 14 states, according to its website.

Brokers said the kart facility in Thousand Oaks is expected to fill a void left by a similar company that formerly operated in the area, as K1 Speed looks to serve Californians emerging from pandemic restrictions.

The company is among several experience-focused chains such as golf simulator Topgolf and indoor trampoline park Urban Air that have been pursuing expansion in the past several months. Another kart racing company, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, has also opened at least two new locations in the past year and expects to open one in Buford, Georgia, next month, according to its website.

State and local governments have begun relaxing many of the regulations that kept most indoor entertainment locations closed or operating under very limited capacity since the onset of the health crisis in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Now as cases decline with more of the population vaccinated, many people who have spent the past year self-quarantining are eager to engage in public activities again. Some economists and analysts anticipate a relative boom in travel and entertainment spending as signs already point to a shift in consumer spending and reservations.

K1 Speed had already begun opening new locations as many of California's largest cities relax restrictions on indoor gathering, but the openings are not limited to the Golden State. The go-kart company opened earlier this month in Burbank, California, and Oxford, Michigan.

The Thousand Oaks location is scheduled to debut this summer. The 2.2-acre property was built in 1983 in the Newbury Park neighborhood and is owned by BM Properties of Calabasas, California.

The summer opening in a warm region such as Thousand Oaks may benefit from timing. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that the state is expected to be fully reopened by mid-June. K1 Speed touts its indoor facilities as good options for consumers during hot summer months, noting that its air-conditioned facilities keep riders cool and protected from sunburns as well as any potential rain or humidity.

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