By Cecil G. Brumley
With the number of projects in the pipeline, Volusia County should see its economy continue to build on the gains of 2012.
In the past year, the county saw steady improvement in retail sales, housing sales, new home construction, airport traffic and hotel occupancy. While unemployment declined, the only trouble spot was job creation.
The two biggest projects in the county are on the beach in Daytona with Bayshore Capital planning twin, 20-story condo-hotel towers and Protogroup of Palm Coast planning a combo hotel and condo with meeting and retail space. If either of those projects gets started, it definitely would boost the construction jobs in the area.
As home building continues to grow, we'll probably start seeing a lot of old plans for new subdivisions get dusted off. Southeast Volusia is probably the area that will see the most new development.
Some big retail projects that will get built in 2013 include the BJ's Wholesale/LA Fitness and other structures at Altamira Village in Port Orange. At The Pavilion at Port Orange, you can expect a Chuck E. Cheese and a Firestone store. On the Daytona Beach mainland, there's the rebuilding of the grandstands at the speedway.
But a construction project that is nearing completion will provide the biggest boost. Teledyne Oil & Gas's research center is expected to create 100 high-paying jobs, the kind of jobs that lead to the creation of other jobs.
In fact, job creation is the one thing you can hope for in 2013. After a while, the economic improvement starts generating enough steam that employers have to hire more people to handle the increase in business.
A restaurant building destined not to stay empty long is now getting remodeled. Work has begun on the former Friendly's at the corner of West International Speedway and Bill France boulevards to house a Lime Fresh Mexican Grill. South Florida-based Lime Fresh is a fast-growing restaurant chain.
In other restaurant news, Premo's Grille is opening in the former Angell & Phelps site at 156 S. Beach St. in Daytona Beach. The restaurant, which serves American and Italian fare, will have its grand opening on New Year's Eve.
Buying up facilities for the elderly in Volusia continued with Formation Capital of Alpharetta, Ga., buying the Bridgeview and Coquina nursing homes for a total of $17 million.
Orange City Applebees fans are getting a fresh look on their favorite neighborhood bar and grill. Remodeling has begun on the restaurant at 2599 Enterprise Road.
CBL & Associates has acquired the Ramada Inn Speedway property for $3.9 million and begun demolishing it. The company, which owns Volusia Mall and The Pavilion at Port Orange, is building a Bahama Breeze and Olive Garden for Darden Corp. The Bahama Breeze would be a new brand for the area, but the Olive Garden will move from its current West ISB location.
A New Jersey investor bought the Walgreens property on Third Avenue, just before the beach, in New Smyrna Beach for $2.45 million.
Construction has begun on a Family Dollar Store at U.S. 17/92 and Azalea Drive in DeBary.
Associate Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business in Volusia County for more than 15 years. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.