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Consolidated’s land-selling spree continues

DAYTONA BEACH — Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co.’s days as one of Daytona Beach’s largest landowners are fast nearing an end.

The public company in its second quarter earnings report disclosed its local land holdings are now down to 5,500 acres as of June 30, from 8,100 on March 31.

Of its remaining land, 4,300 acres are under contract to be sold between now and 2020.

“This is an evolution of the company,” said CEO John Albright.

Historically, Consolidated-Tomoka generated most of its revenues from land sales as well as timber and hay production on the vast acreage it owned in Daytona Beach.

Most of its land holdings are in the area surrounding the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange.

Consolidated-Tomoka owned approximately 11,000 acres locally when Albright became CEO in August 2011.

Its land sales since then include the sites of what is now the Trader Joe’s distribution center and Tanger Outlets mall on the east side of I-95 and the Latitude Margaritaville and Mosaic communities going up just west of I-95.

The company has reinvested most of the proceeds from those land sales to buy income-producing properties such as retail and office buildings leased to long-term tenants.

Those acquisitions have been largely in other parts of the country — with two notable exceptions.

Consolidated-Tomoka in January completed the construction of two oceanfront restaurants — Landshark Bar & Grill and Coquina 214 Restaurant & Bar — on six acres it acquired in 2016, north of SunSplash Park.

In the first quarter of this year, the company acquired three acres belonging to First Baptist Church in downtown Daytona Beach and in June added other neighboring parcels on the same block.

“We intend to pursue the potential redevelopment of these parcels, which are located nearly adjacent to the location of the future new headquarters of Brown & Brown Inc.,” Consolidated-Tomoka stated in its earnings release

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Bike Week visitors find plenty new to see in Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH – Flip-flops had competition from biker boots and leather jackets this week at the LandShark Bar & Grill, as Bike Week visitors discovered one of the success stories among recent development projects aimed at revitalizing business on the beachside.

“I think it’s great,” said Toby Price, 43, who had traveled to the area from Chicago for his third Bike Week with longtime friend Steve Barrett, 45. “They needed this. They needed some upgrades in restaurants, especially on the beachside.”

In addition to the Jimmy Buffett-branded LandShark eatery, the Bike Week crowd also is experiencing its first taste of other sparkling new beachside dining, drinking, lodging and entertainment options that offer diversions away from the familiar haunts on Main Street and Beach Street.

New offerings include the adjoining, separately owned Cocina 214 Tex-Mex eatery that opened simultaneously with the LandShark in January as part of a $6 million dual restaurant development on a 6-acre beachfront lot at 451 S. Atlantic Ave., just north of SunSplash Park.

It is the independently owned Cocina 214′s second location, building on the success of the original Winter Park restaurant that opened in 2011.

North of International Speedway Boulevard on State Road A1A, a highly anticipated Hard Rock Hotel started welcoming guests with a soft opening on March 1. That marked the culmination of a $40 million renovation that transformed the site of the infamous Desert Inn, once proclaimed as one of the three dirtiest hotels in the nation by online travel site TripAdvisor, into a new beachside gem associated with an international brand.

Such changes haven’t gone unnoticed by bikers sipping beers at lunchtime at the LandShark, where the parking lot was noticeably jammed with motorcycles on Bike Week’s opening weekend.

“I noticed a few years ago that the area had been getting kind of run-down and I wondered when they were going to update it,” said Price, the Chicago visitor. “When we rode up to this place, it was like, ‘Wow, this is really cool!’”

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Road to recovery? Amid vacancies, A1A successes sprout

New businesses, including Hard Rock, Landshark, hope to spark growth along A1A

DAYTONA BEACH — It was a tad chilly for morning margaritas on the Atlantic Ocean side of State Road A1A.

But that was the drink of choice in late January as area leaders toasted the opening of the Jimmy Buffett-branded LandShark Bar & Grill and adjoining, separately-owned Cocina 214 Tex-Mex eatery on a 6-acre beachfront lot just north of SunSplash Park.

“It has been a really fast year in making this happen,” said John Albright, president and CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co., landowner and developer of the $6 million dual-restaurant project at 451 S. Atlantic Ave.

“Our whole mission here is basically to get this property activated and get the beachside activated,” Albright told customers, employees, Parrotheads and local dignitaries assembled in the parking lot. “To me, this is the potential of Daytona Beach, and this is a start, and there’s a lot more to come.”

New development on A1A has long been overshadowed by the overwhelming number of vacant lots and empty storefronts that blemish the iconic roadway that runs north and south along the World’s Most Famous Beach.

The new restaurants are touted as a potential catalyst that can ignite other beachside development. A little more than a month after opening, both eateries are reporting healthy business, poised to become success stories along the 10.5-mile stretch of A1A from Ormond Beach to Daytona Beach Shores.

“We’re ecstatic at being here,” said David Crabtree, president and CEO of Orlando-based IMCMV, licensee of the restaurant chain started by Buffett’s Margaritaville Holdings company. “It has exceeded all our expectations.”

Lounging recently on one of the restaurant’s bright yellow, heavily branded wooden deck chairs, Crabtree caught the attention of Rich Torella, the restaurant’s general manager, to compliment him on two record days the previous weekend.

“Actually, every week has been a record week for this place,” Crabtree said. “We’re doing about 50 percent more business than we planned on doing. We’ve been received very well by all the tourists and local consumers, as well.”

Next door, as the early lunch crowd arrived at Cocina 214, restaurant co-founder Lambrine Macejewski echoed that satisfaction. The beachfront spot is the second location for the eatery, which has established a loyal following at its original Winter Park restaurant, which opened in 2011.

“We just had the Daytona 500 and we did really well with that,” said Macejewski, who is optimistic about the potential impact of other new projects on A1A. “It’s all great and positive. The community is full of wonderful people.”

Yet she also understands that two new restaurants are merely the start of a long process.

“It takes perseverance, especially when you’re trying to change big things,” Macejewski said.

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Daytona’s Landshark, Cocina 214 eateries officially start the party

DAYTONA BEACH — If it’s truly 5 o’clock somewhere, as the Jimmy Buffett mindset suggests, then the destination for early happy hour on Thursday was the World’s Most Famous Beach.

Area business leaders, elected officials and other dignitaries hoisted margaritas and beers well before lunch to toast the simultaneous grand openings of the Buffett-branded Landshark Bar & Grill and the adjoining, separately-owned Cocina 214 Tex-Mex eatery, restaurants touted as additions that could lift the prospects for other beachside businesses.

“It has been a really fast year in making this happen,” said John Albright, president and CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co., among several area leaders to address a crowd clustered in the restaurants’ shared parking lot.

Consolidated-Tomoka is the landowner and developer of the $6 million dual-restaurant project on a 6-acre lot at 451 S. Atlantic Ave., just north of SunSplash Park.

“Our whole mission here is basically to get this property activated and get the beachside activated,” Albright said. “To me, this is the potential of Daytona Beach, and this is a start and there’s a lot more to come.”

Cocina 214 has hired virtually all of its 75-member workforce for a restaurant with a capacity of 345 guests. Landshark, meanwhile, also is close to its goal of 150 workers for that 350-seat restaurant.

Daytona Beach City Commissioner Ruth Trager said such economic impact is “fantastic.”

“The neighborhood is all in favor of it; the city is all in favor of it,” Trager said. “We see this as being the catalyst for great things happening in this area. It’s only the beginning.”

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New beachside Jimmy Buffett-themed concept, Tex-Mex eatery to debut

Two new restaurants are getting ready for big grand openings this month, set to bring more options to visitors and locals in Daytona Beach.

The Jimmy Buffett-themed Landshark Bar & Grill will host a soft opening of its new 6,600-square-foot restaurant on Jan. 22 and then Winter Park independent Tex-Mex restaurant Cocina 214 will debut its second location in a nearly 8,000-square-foot space next door on Jan. 25. Both restaurants are side-by-side on a 6-acre beachside lot at 451 S. Atlantic Ave.

The restaurants will help kickstart development on the site and bring much-needed waterfront dining venues to the area, as previously reported by Orlando Business Journal.

Both restaurants are expected to add to an upsurge in development activity in Daytona Beach, helping transform it from a tourist destination to a great place to live/work/play.

Leading the way are International Speedway Corp.’s (Nasdaq: ISCA) $120 million-$150 million One Daytona motorsports-themed destination; the $1 billion, 7,000-home Latitude Margaritaville, a Buffett-inspired active-adult community being developed by Minto Communities LLC and Margaritaville Holdings; the new Hard Rock International resort; shopping complexes, like The Landings; and corporate expansions, including insurance firm Brown & Brown Inc.’s (NYSE: BRO) $25 million headquarters and a relocation of personal-injury law firm Morgan & Morgan PA.

Meanwhile, here are more details on the two restaurants headed to the beach:

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Cocina 214 on target for January opening

DAYTONA BEACH – With only wooden frames to divide them, it’s hard to distinguish the indoor bar from the main dining room on the construction site of the new Cocina 214, but the restaurant’s defining design element is instantly apparent.

“Look at this view,” said Lambrine Macejewski, the Tex-Mex restaurant’s co-founder, partner and business manager, gesturing from the entrance past skeletal wooden frames that will soon support oceanfront picture windows on the restaurant’s east side. “From the moment you walk in, it’s special. It’s breathtaking.”

Macejewski on Tuesday offered a tour of the restaurant’s construction site at 451 S. Atlantic Ave., just north of the Volusia County lifeguard headquarters and SunSplash Park in Daytona Beach.

Cocina 214 is part of a two-restaurant development on the 6-acre lot that also will include a Landshark Bar & Grill, a separately owned restaurant to be operated by Orlando-based IMCMV, licensee of the restaurant chain started by Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Holdings company.

Consolidated-Tomoka is the landowner and developer of the $6 million dual-restaurant project.

Both restaurants are slated to open in tandem in time for the start of Speedweeks, which kicks off with the Rolex 24 at Daytona race at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 27, Macejewski confirmed on Tuesday.

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Locals cheer groundbreaking for Daytona’s Jimmy Buffett restaurants

DAYTONA BEACH — Drinking beer and margaritas before noon is not the norm for business leaders and elected officials, even at the World’s Most Famous Beach.

The several dozen who turned out to celebrate the groundbreaking Wednesday morning of two planned side-by-side oceanfront restaurants were happy to make an exception.

With complimentary bottles of Landshark Beer and cups of margaritas in hand, they toasted the occasion before scooping up dirt to signal the start of construction for a Jimmy Buffett-branded Landshark Bar & Grill and an adjacent, separately owned Tex-Mex eatery called Cocina 214 Restaurant & Bar.

The two restaurants are being built on the six-acre lot at 451 S. Atlantic Ave., just north of Sunsplash Park and the Volusia County lifeguard headquarters. Both are targeting a late January opening, in time for the Rolex 24 at Daytona at Daytona International Speedway.

Consolidated-Tomoka, which acquired the land in November, will own the land and buildings for the two-restaurant development. Albright in his comments Wednesday thanked the city and county allowing his company to obtain the necessary building permits in a timely fashion. “We want to get this going as soon as possible and open up here within seven months,” he said.

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