DAYTONA BEACH — The development hot streak along LPGA Boulevard continues with the news this week of a grocery store and a Jimmy Buffett-owned restaurant coming to the area. Both are part of a commercial center that could open as soon as summer next year as part of the 6,900-home Latitude Margaritaville active adult community that broke ground in March, The News-Journal has learned. The center will serve as the south entrance to the community, on the north side of LPGA Boulevard, just west of the Tomoka River and Interstate 95.
Singer Jimmy Buffett is a partner in and inspiration for the Latitude Margaritaville 55-and-older community, which is being developed by Minto Communities and Buffett’s Margaritaville Holdings company. Minto recently sold 38 acres at the south end of the planned community to Sutton Properties for $38 million, which has agreed to develop the commercial center for Latitude Margaritaville. Sam Sutton, who co-owns Sutton Properties with his brother Robert, said Margaritaville Holdings has committed to being part of the center but has not yet decided which of its restaurants will be located there. Restaurant chains owned by Margaritaville Holdings include Margaritaville Restaurant, JWB Prime Steak and Seafood, 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill and LandShark Bar & Grill.
Buffett and business partner John Cohlan are the majority owners of Margaritaville Holdings. Latitude Margaritaville, Daytona Beach, inspired by Buffett’s music and laidback tropical lifestyle, is the first of several active adult communities Minto and Margaritaville Holdings are planning to develop in multiple states. Sutton Properties up until recently owned two Publix-anchored shopping centers in east Volusia County: the Indian River Shopping Center in New Smyrna Beach and Dunlawton Square in Port Orange. Sam Sutton said proceeds from the sale of those two shopping centers last fall freed up the cash that allowed he and his brother to purchase the commercial center site at Latitude Margaritaville. Minto sold the commercial site to Sutton Properties one month after paying $27.2 million to acquire the 1,581-acre site of the first phase for Latitude Margaritaville from the property’s longtime owner, Daytona Beach-based Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. “We considered a lot of retail partners. After spending time with the Suttons, we realized they were the right group to work with Minto and Margaritaville on Latitude Daytona,” said Minto Senior Vice President William Bullock. Sam Sutton said his company’s plan is to develop “the first (Latitude) Margaritaville shopping center in the country.”
The 200,000-square-foot commercial center will be anchored by both a grocery store, which he said will be 40,000 to 45,000 square feet in size, as well as the yet-to-be determined Margaritaville Holdings restaurant, which will be 6,000 square feet in size and will include an outdoor deck. The eatery will be along a man-made lake that will include a sandy beach to evoke the Margaritaville lifetyle depicted in Buffett’s signature tune of the same name, Sutton said. The commercial center will be built in two phases. The first will have 80,000 square feet of space and will include both the Margaritaville Holdings restaurant, grocery store and lake, as well as room for other shops and restaurants. It is expected to open sometime between summer 2018 and early 2019, Sutton said. Construction is expected to begin within nine to 12 months, once the infrastructure, including the southward extension of Tymber Creek Road from Ormond Beach, has been completed, he said. A second phase would add 120,000 square feet of commercial space and would include a specialty retail center and a live entertainment component, Sutton added.
The Margaritaville Holdings restaurant in the first phase could potentially also offer live entertainment, but it would depend on which of the restaurant concepts are chosen, he said. Margaritaville Holdings has already committed to opening a Landshark Bar & Grill restaurant in Daytona Beach, not at Latitude Margaritaville, but at a planned 6-acre oceanfront development just north of Sun Splash Park that Consolidated-Tomoka is developing. The first phase of that oceanfront development, including the Landshark restaurant and a Tex-Mex eatery called Cocina 214 Mexican Kitchen & Bar, is on track to open in early 2018, said John Albright, the CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka. Albright said the planned commercial center at Latitude Margaritaville would be an ideal site for a Publix grocery store. “Publix has always been looking for another store location (in the I-95/LPGA Boulevard area) even before Minto. Their store at Granada (Boulevard) and Williamson (Boulevard) in Ormond Beach has gotten so congested,” Albright said. The Publix at Ormond Towne Square and Wal-Mart Supercenter across the street are both just over 3 miles to the north and are currently the closest grocery stores serving the area where Latitude Margaritaville is being built. The section of LPGA Boulevard west of I-95 is already home to large residential subdivisions including Bayberry Lakes and the ones at LPGA International.
Local observer Chris Butera, a partner and agent with SVN Alliance Commercial Real Estate Advisors, said the I-95/LPGA area is “exploding” with new home construction and commercial development. Recently announced projects include a nine-acre parcel at the corner of LPGA and Williamson boulevards where a developer is planning to build a store for an unnamed “specialty grocer.” Butera said grocery chains he knows of that have been considering sites in the I-95/LPGA area include Sprouts, Lucky’s and Aldi, in addition to Publix. Then there’s Trader Joe’s which in summer 2015 opened a regional distribution center on the east side of I-95, just south of the new Tanger Outlets mall, but has yet to open a store in the area. Sutton said he and his brother intend to reach out to all the grocery chains considering sites here. “We’re talking to several right now,” he said. “We love Publix and have a 30-year relationship with them but I can’t comment yet on which it will be.” He said it could come down to timing as Minto and Margaritaville Holdings are anxious to have the grocery store open by the time the first homes at Latitude Margaritaville become ready for occupancy in fall 2018. Sutton said his company has worked with Minto on other projects in the past and jumped at the chance to become the commercial center developer for Latitude Margaritaville. Sutton said he has been an avid sailboat racer for the past 25 years as well as a fan of Buffett’s music. “To have an opportunity like this is quite a charge,” Sutton said.