Daytona Beachs downtown could get another big retail and housing project on property bordered by Beach Street, Palmetto Avenue, International Speedway Boulevard and Bay Street.
DAYTONA BEACH For decades, the Beach Street corridor suffered through an epidemic of high storefront vacancy rates and the taint of being a persistent homeless hangout.
Then along came the new $65 million Brown & Brown headquarters building that will create space for hundreds of new employees, the $18 million Riverfront Park remake that will bring picturesque landscaping, and the Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. development with hundreds of new luxury apartments and a grocery store that together promise to create a dramatic turnaround along the Halifax River downtown.
Now theres a fourth project.
Burgoyne Properties is delving into a plan to transform the block it owns along Beach Street between International Speedway Boulevard and Bay Street into a dense cluster of new development including a hotel with a rooftop pool, plaza, parking garage, shops and multifamily housing.
In addition to that new development that would push west to Palmetto Avenue, Burgoyne is also looking at more housing, retail and another parking structure on its property at the corner of Beach Street and Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard that currently is home to Indian Motorcycle. That north Beach Street property is across from the new Brown & Brown headquarters building slated to open late next year, and its beside the county-owned site that has been targeted as the possible future home of a new courthouse and county offices.
Details are still being worked out, but the Daytona Beach attorney representing the Jacksonville-based property owner gave city commissioners a general sneak preview at their meeting Wednesday night.
"You have a 100-year property owner ready to re-phase this whole block," said Cobb Cole attorney Rob Merrell.
In the early 1900s, self-made commercial printing tycoon Charles Grover Burgoyne had a grand Queen Anne-style mansion that sprawled across the Beach Street block, and across the street he had his own dock and boathouse for his yacht. He died in 1916, and his widow remained in the home until the mid-1940s.
Mary Burgoyne sold the property to the current owner, whose holdings on the block begin at 116 N. Beach St. where the Kale Cafe is currently located. The cafes owners, Camille and Omar Brown, are feeling a mix of excitement and worry over the plans.
"A lot of people on Beach Street are uneasy," Omar Brown said. "Will we be gentrified and not be able to afford anything? I think were going to tough it out. Weve endured all these slim years and we want to see what happens."
Conceptual renderings drawn up by Jacksonville-based ELM architects show a new roadway carved into the middle of the block between what could be a hotel and new housing above street-level shops. The thoroughfare would be across from the veterans memorial in Riverfront Park, and it would run through the area now covered by a row of buildings.
"One thing we really tried to do with our design is create continuity from the park to our property," said William Colledge, vice president of Burgoyne Properties. "We want to make sure everything feels connected."
The new road would push west and wind around toward the Consolidated-Tomoka development that would extend out to Ridgewood Avenue.
The renderings show a plethora of new buildings, but Merrell said decisions have yet to be made about which of the existing buildings which mostly went up in the late 1940s and 1950s could be renovated and which could possibly be demolished and replaced with new structures built at higher elevations to handle flooding the area is prone to during hurricanes.
Merrell said people shouldnt take the renderings too literally. Burgoyne still has to finalize its plans, and the companys proposal needs a rezoning to a planned development that will need to get past the citys Downtown Redevelopment Board, Planning Board and City Commission over the next six-nine months.
"Some of this is not fully cooked yet," Merrell said. "Theyre not sure how much retail there will be. This is the beginning of a conversation."
He said he couldnt yet share the figures being discussed for the possible number of new housing units, parking spaces and square feet of commercial space. He said there is no developer on board yet for the blocks future ventures.
Colledge said hell talk to "a lot of different developers" as well as the key players involved in the other big downtown projects. On Thursday afternoon he drove to Daytona Beach to have some of those conversations.
"Were certainly excited about everything thats going on downtown," Colledge said Thursday. "For us it seemed an ideal time to do future planning and see what our property could evolve into."
The Consolidated-Tomoka project, planned to include a 400-space parking structure and 300 apartments along with new shops and restaurants, is what sparked the idea for Burgoyne to also recreate its downtown block, Colledge said.
Colledge said hes trying to be "really transparent" with the project, and met with impacted business owners a week ago.
"We want to assure them that for at least the next couple of years we have no immediate plans to tear those buildings down," he said.
The new development could be added in pieces, with a gradual turnover of building stock, he said. In the meantime, Burgoyne is "in discussions" for new pop-up retail uses and is renewing leases for existing businesses for up to three years.
It could be three to five years before changes happen on the Burgoyne property, he said.
"It depends on market conditions," Colledge said.
City commissioners are typically debriefed on new projects behind the scenes before theyre presented at commission meetings. But Wednesdays presentation inside City Hall was the first commissioners had heard about Burgoynes ideas.
City Commissioner Rob Gilliland called it "amazing," and said hes "astounded" by everything happening downtown.
Merrell presented it to city commissioners Wednesday night because they were slated to vote on a project that would be complementary to Burgoynes plans. Before commissioners was a contract for P&S Paving to revitalize Beach Street between Orange Avenue and Bay Street.
Commissioners hired P&S Paving to handle the $4.48 million Beach Street project scheduled to begin next month and wrap up in October 2020. The project will involve reducing the four traffic lanes to two, widening sidewalks, making utility improvements, and adding new street lighting and landscaping. Plans also call for reconstructing the decorative arches damaged by Hurricane Irma and creating an additional 43 parking spaces along Beach Street.
Some residents spoke out against the Beach Street road project, saying it was too expensive and was needlessly being rushed. Other residents, such as Beach Street coffee shop owner Tammy Kozinsky, welcomes the coming changes.
"Please dont look at it as just changing the street," Kozinsky said. "Youre creating a destination."
City Commissioner Paula Reed is concerned about the money being spent, and said Daytona Beach needs to take another look at the failed half-cent sales tax to find money for road and bridge projects. City Commissioner Ruth Trager cast the lone no vote against the road project, saying "we have to balance our wants with our needs."
Al Smith, whose family owns downtown property, said more than $200 million is about to be invested in the riverfront area, more than enough to justify the city spending $4.48 million on Beach Street.
Mayor Derrick Henry said the downtown projects cant be put on hold.
"We have a destination for our future," Henry said. "We cant keep kicking the can down the road."
The road project also inspired Burgoyne Properties to rethink its downtown Daytona holdings.
"When I started sharing the Beach Street plan, Burgoyne got very interested in re-purposing their buildings," Merrell said. "Theyve done it in Jacksonville."
Before commissioners voted on whether to hire P&S Paving to handle the road project, J. Hyatt Brown told them what would happen in Riverfront Park if the plan to improve the three blocks of Beach Street and pare the traffic lanes to two in that stretch was scrapped.
Brown, chairman of insurance broker Brown & Brown, is personally donating $18.3 million for dramatic improvements planned for Riverfront Park. If the Beach Street road project had been derailed, Brown said the $750,000 splash pad planned for the park would be eradicated from designs because "according to all of the professional advice that we have mothers and young children won't bother crossing four lanes."
And that would take away a new source of revenue from Beach Street businesses with mothers who could take their kids to shops for "candy, and cookies and Cokes and all those good things," Brown said.
"What we're looking to do is to create a situation where people come downtown and spend money downtown," he said.
He said the park is also envisioned to hold events at night because it will become "a great place to be." He said that will draw people from all over, including those who live nearby between Nova Road and the ocean but have been hesitant to come to the riverfront in recent decades because of crime problems.
"Think about the number of people that are in that area who would like to come to events and would now feel safe in a beautiful place," Brown said.
"We don't view the $18.3 million as a gift, we view it as an investment," Brown said. "We feel an obligation to try to have the boats rise here, and the boats mean more people who have more good-paying jobs so they'll be happy with themselves and their family and be here forever."
Mori Hosseini, CEO of ICI Homes, spoke in support of the upcoming downtown projects.
"You have to do whats right for the city," Hosseini told commissioners before they voted on the road project. "When its done everyone will benefit and everyone will remember you for the good work you did."
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