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McClatchy-Tribune  06/13/2014 2:04 AM ET
Brazilian company building indoor go-kart track on I-Drive [Orlando Sentinel :: ]

June 13--A Brazilian company that has operated retail shops on International Drive since 1995 is expanding into entertainment with the construction of an indoor go-kart complex.

AMP Group plans to open I-Drive Indoor Kart Racing on Vanguard Street, just off I-Drive, by the end of the year, said General Manager Douglas Rodrigues.

As planned, the center will be the first indoor go-kart track on I-Drive and will span the length of a football field at 76,000 square feet. The track will accommodate up to 16 electric go-karts at a time for an eight-minute drive. The one-person go-karts can reach speeds of up to 40 mph.

The track will include a tunnel with flashing LED lights. The complex also will include an arcade, four bowling lanes and a full-service restaurant and bar overlooking the track. Rodrigues said he expects the complex will employ 80 people.

No admission fee will be required, but a ticket for a single ride around the track will cost about $20, Rodrigues said.

Alejandro Pezzini, AMP Group's chief operating officer, said he expects many of the track's customers will come from Brazil, and the attraction will be included in suggested itineraries for Brazilian tourists who visit AMP Group stores such as Perfumeland Megastore.

Maria Triscari, president of the International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce, said Brazilian businesses are the fastest-growing international market segment in Central Florida.

"Brazilians have a robust market; they're fantastic investors in Central Florida," she said. "That market is going to be a major player in the future. It's a positive force."

Triscari said Central Florida hosts 600,000 Brazilian visitors a year.

AMP Group is spending $5 million on the project, and began construction in March. The company has begun marketing the project through hotels and social media.

"We have a big following for the racing facility's Facebook page," Pezzini said. "People that have seen the website as well have called in to book spots."

Pezzini said the company began as Perfumeland in 1995 and later took on the name AMP Group. It now owns other retail businesses on I-Drive such as Athletic Planet and the Orlando Crossings Mall.

The go-kart project is underway as other companies are planning thrill rides along I-Drive. Plans for the world's tallest roller coaster, Skyscraper, were unveiled last week, for example.

"We're going to be different," Rodrigues said. "Before the roller coaster even opens in 2016, we're going to have ourselves already set."

alefernandez@tribune.com or 407-420-5471

 

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