By Cecil G. Brumley
1. Big resorts planned for Daytona Beach
Why have one big resort project on the beach when you can have two? Canada-based Bayshore Capital announced plans to build two, 20-story condo-hotel towers with 1.3 million square feet of room space and 20,000 square feet of meeting space on land just south of Sunsplash Park that it bought for $2.5 million. Not to be outdone, Palm Coast-based hotel developer Protogroup Inc. plans a $100 million project with 500 hotel rooms, 105 condos, 15,100 square feet of meeting space and 14,000 square feet of retail space on land it bought in the core tourism area for $6.3 million. Construction could begin on both projects in 2013.
2. Elections create big changes in area governing boards; voters were in a no mood
In the biggest surprise of the election, relatively unknown Jason Davis won the Volusia County Chair's position. Sheriff Ben Johnson easily won re-election as did Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall and Clerk of Court Diane Matousek. County voters rejected a new school tax, though. Daytona Beach now has its first black male mayor with Derrick Henry winning. The City Commission also got two new members, Paula Reed and Carl Lentz IV. The Daytona area also has a new County Council representative in Doug Daniels. Also, voting rights took center stage with a group of churches leading one march and Bethune-Cookman University students leading a second march to the early voting site at City Island Library.
3. International Speedway Corp. looks at big changes in the speedway area.
The owner of Daytona International Speedway revived some of the plans for the defunct Daytona Live! project, which included hotels, retail shops and a cinema on the land it owns across International Speedway Boulevard from the race track. It also sought approval of plans to build new hotel and retail space around the speedway as well as redoing the grandstands. First up is the 53-year-old grandstands, which will be demolished and rebuilt, possibly between the Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400.
4. Old hospitals disappear and redevelopment may be seen
Halifax Health demolished the 120,000-square-foot Atlantic Medical Center while Florida Hospital used an implosion to raze its old facility in Ormond Beach. Halifax Health's demolition effort is part of its plans to develop property it owns along Clyde Morris Boulevard between the Kmart shopping center and Dunn Avenue. The development could include a mix of residential, retail and office space. Two possible developers are looking the property where the old Ormond Beach hospital once stood. It was left vacant after Florida Hospital moved to its new facility next to Interstate 95.
5. Multi-family housing market goes red hot
Two apartment complexes in Daytona Beach sold for huge sums in 2012. Andros Isles, a 360-unit complex at Beville Road and I-95, sold for $49 million. Integra Shores, a 288-unit complex along Clyde Morris Boulevard, north of LPGA Boulevard, sold for $32.2 million. Richmond, Va.-based Apartment Trust of America Inc. bought Andros Isles while Grant Cardone, the Turnaround King on the National Geographic Channel, bought Integra Shores. Apparently high occupancy rates are leading the demand, which also has a South Florida developer looking to build the 240-unit Tradewinds at Dunn and Jimmy Ann Drive.
6. Beach Patrol controversy lingered
A sex scandal involving beach patrol officers and underage girls stretched into 2012 with Beach Patrol Officer Robert Tameris sentenced to 18 months in prison. Beach Patrol Captain Jecoa Simmons was sentenced to probation for tampering with a witness. The scandal could lead to a new rule that beach lifeguards have to be at least 18 years old.
7. Tourism and conventions industry gets a lot of changes
The big news in the travel industry for the Daytona Beach area was the procurement of the Shriners Convention in 2017, the biggest convention the area will have had. But tourism dominated the news as it started to reach levels not seen since 2007. An upswing in the core tourism area was spearheaded by the opening of Joe's Crab Shack and the reopening of the Main Street Pier on which the restaurant is located. The Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau got a new leader in Jeffrey Hentz. But one old tourist attraction came to an end as the Space Needle on the pier had to be torn down.
8. Teledyne Oil & Gas will build research facility in Daytona Beach
Teledyne Oil & Gas, already one of the area's largest employers, began construction on a new 50,000-square-foot research and development center that is expected to produce 100 high-paying jobs.
9. County imposes new beach driving rules
The Volusia County Council imposed new beach driving rules, seeking to deter children getting hit by autos on the beach. Drivers must turn on their headlights, keep their window rolled down, and talking and texting on a cellphone are not allowed. Parts of the beach also are limited to one-way travel.
10. Trudie Kibbe Reed resigns as president of Bethune-Cookman University
After eight years at the helm, Trudie Kibbe Reed resigned as president of Bethune-Cookman University. She was replaced by interim president Edison Jackson, who was president of Medgar Evers College for 20 years. At the end of the year, the university's trustees were still working on a permanent replacement.