Construction is slated to begin this fall on Brown & Brown’s new headquarters building on the riverfront in downtown Daytona Beach
DAYTONA BEACH — The empty 10-acre lot on North Beach Street covered in tall weeds, trash and piles of broken up concrete is about to undergo a metamorphosis.
In about two months, the rubble will be cleared away and the site will start to transform into the new headquarters of Brown & Brown Inc., a homegrown business that has become one of the world’s largest insurance brokers.
Utility work will extend through the fall, and foundation construction that will include pilings could begin by the end of the year. Then throughout 2019 a new 10-story building will take shape just south of the Main Street bridge.
“In the first half of 2019 you will see the shell of a building,” said David Lotz, Brown & Brown’s chief corporate counsel. “We’re excited to be where we are. From the outside it seems like it’s taking a long time, but we’ve moved along at a good clip.”
When the project was publicly announced 10 months ago at a gala event attended by dozens of local leaders, there was “no true design” for the building yet, Lotz said. Now Jacksonville architect RS&H has the towering structure’s design 95 percent complete and attention is turning to hiring a general contractor. An updated rendering will be provided later this year, he said.
The goal remains to open the 200,000-square-foot building that will overlook the Halifax River by the end of 2020. Around 650 to 700 employees will work there to start, and that number could swell in the future if the vision to one day add a second building on the property comes together. The north end of the site is planned as a parking lot but eventually could become the spot for a second building, Lotz said.
The company will continue to house another 350-plus employees at the 75,000-square-foot office tower it leases at 220 S. Ridgewood Ave. That will expand the insurance company’s local workforce to more than 1,000, some of whom will transfer from Brown & Brown offices in other states.
For many locals, and particularly Beach Street business owners, the new office tower is hoped to be a savior for the long-struggling downtown riverfront.