Daytona’s First Baptist Church being toppled

The downtown Daytona Beach First Baptist Church is starting to come down. Demolition was in high gear Friday as the site is prepared to become the future home of apartments, a grocery store, restaurants and retail.

DAYTONA BEACH — First Baptist Church is starting to look like a war zone casualty that’s been mercilessly shelled.

On the west side of the building that faces Ridgewood Avenue, the exterior walls have been ripped out by a huge excavator with a powerful grapple. On the ground below, mounds of rubble wait to be hauled off.

Inside the cavernous sanctuary, rows and rows of pews that have held the faithful for decades have been stripped out, and the mighty pipe organ has been dismantled and reduced to a pile of parts. Interior supports and walls are toppling, and the front doors facing Palmetto Avenue have been torn out.

Within a few weeks, the iconic downtown Daytona house of worship with a lofty bell tower will become a mountain of disjointed debris. And in a few months, the block between Ridgewood and Palmetto avenues will be cleared off and ready to become something other than the site of a church for the first time in 122 years.

“We’re anxious to see something get going,” said Scott Bullock, vice president of real estate for Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co., which has bought out most of the block dominated by the now empty First Baptist buildings.

The church buildings have been vacant since the congregation relocated in October to a new campus on Tomoka Farms Road.

Construction could start at the end of the year on a new high-density development on the block bordered by Ridgewood Avenue, International Speedway Boulevard, Palmetto Avenue and Bay Street.

Conceptual plans have shown a five-story luxury apartment building with 300 units on the corner of Bay Street and Palmetto Avenue. A multi-story parking garage, which could have at least 400 parking spaces, could stand at Ridgewood Avenue and Bay Street.

The design shows the garage and apartment building connected by a covered pedestrian overpass and street-level retail shops in both buildings.

Renderings show a grocery store and its parking lot on the corner of ISB and Palmetto. There could be a standalone building in the middle of the property used for either a restaurant or shop, and a restaurant could front Ridgewood between the existing Popeye’s fast-food eatery and Beck’s office building.

Consolidated is not buying the Popeye’s site, but the company is under contract to purchase the Beck’s office building, Bullock said this week. The Beck’s building will come down if the sale closes, he said.

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Daytona’s LPGA area getting more stores, including ABC liquors, restaurants

An ABC liquor store, three restaurants, Goodwill, Great Clips and ExtraSpace Storage are coming soon to Daytona’s growing LPGA Boulevard commercial corridor. They are part of a planned retail center called Shoppes at Williamson Crossing set to be built behind the RaceTrac gas station on the corner of LPGA and Williamson.

DAYTONA BEACH — An ABC liquor store, three restaurants, Goodwill and ExtraSpace Storage are coming soon to Daytona’s growing LPGA Boulevard commercial corridor.

They are part of a planned retail center called Shoppes at Williamson Crossing.

The center is set to be built behind the RaceTrac gas station on the corner of LPGA and Williamson boulevards.

Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments Inc. recently posted a site map on its website listing the aforementioned tenants. The site map includes the retailers’ logos.

Other tenants coming to Shoppes at Williamson Crossing include Burger King and two other yet-to-be-announced restaurants, a Great Clips hair salon and an AT&T store.

“We’re doing site work right now and should begin vertical construction in 120 days,” said Unicorp President Chuck Whittal.

“The first tenants should open 11 to 12 months from now.”

Whittal’s company also plans to begin construction of two nearby luxury apartment complexes in the coming months.

One is a 346-unit complex called The Ellis which is planned just north of the northwest corner of Clyde Morris and LPGA boulevards.

The other is a planned 223-unit apartment complex called The Edison which will be built on the southwest corner of Clyde Morris and LPGA.

Both apartment complexes are expected to welcome their first residents in early to mid-2021.

Unicorp acquired the 37-acre site behind RaceTrac for its planned Shoppes at Williamson Crossing from Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. in 2018.

The planned 100,000-square-foot project was originally going to be called the Shoppes at Williamson Crossing.

The shopping center will include two retail buildings with storefront spaces for multiple tenants.

Justin Greider, senior vice president/retail lead for commercial real estate brokerage JLL in Orlando, said Shoppes at Williamson Crossing should do well.

“When you look at those kinds of tenants, they’re going to do a great job of serving the new residential developments that are being built on that corridor, right now,” he said.

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More retail coming to Daytona’s LPGA Boulevard

Site work has begun on three new retail projects just east of the Interstate-95/LPGA Boulevard interchange in Daytona Beach: a highly anticipated Buc-ee’s mega-sized gas station/travel convenience center, a new shopping center called Williamson Crossing, and a pair of new retail buildings at Tomoka Town Center.

DAYTONA BEACH — When Pete Tavolacci decided to open his Dominic’s Deli & Eatery at Tomoka Town Center in February, he did so because of the tremendous growth both at the center as well as the surrounding area.

“We were looking for an expansion site and this was a perfect fit,” said Tavolacci, who also owns a Dominic’s Deli in Palm Coast.

The Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange area is home on its east side to both Tomoka Town Center, the neighboring Tanger Outlets and the new Sam’s Club that opened in July.

On the west side is the new Publix-anchored Latitude Landings shopping center that opened in November next to Latitude Margaritaville and is set to soon add more shops and restaurants.

And more commercial growth is on the way.

This past week, site work began on not one, not two, but three new retail projects in the area just east of the Interstate-95/LPGA Boulevard interchange.

Land is now being cleared for the highly anticipated Buc-ee’s mega gas station/travel convenience center, a new retail center called Shoppes at Williamson Crossing, and a pair of new retail buildings at Tomoka Town Center, across from, Tavolacci’s deli/restaurant.

Jeff Preston of North American Development Group, the developer of Tomoka Town Center, which welcomed its first stores just over a year ago, confirmed that his company has begun construction of two side-by-side standalone retail buildings. One will become home to a Verizon Wireless store. The other will be offer storefront spaces for multiple tenants.

A site has also been cleared up the street from the two future retail buildings for a planned antique car-themed restaurant called Ford’s Garage, which is expected to soon start vertical construction, Preston said.

Talks also are underway with the Miller’s Ale House restaurant chain which has shown interest in possibly building a new standalone eatery on the undeveloped lot immediately south of the new Sam’s Club.

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Site work underway for Daytona’s super-sized Buc-ee’s

Three months after its ground-breaking, site work has finally begun in earnest for the Buc-ee’s super-sized gas station/convenience store in Daytona Beach. When it opens in mid-2021, it will be the biggest gas station in Florida, able to have as many as 120 vehicles gas up at the same time.

DAYTONA BEACH — Three months after its ground-breaking ceremony with Gov. Ron DeSantis, site work finally began in earnest Monday on the highly anticipated Buc-ee’s mega gas station/convenience store here.

When it opens in mid-2021, the gas station on the northeast side of the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange will be the biggest in Florida, with enough fuel pumps to allow 120 cars to gas up at the same time.

And its 53,000-square-foot “travel convenience center” will be bigger than most supermarkets, offering a vast array of snacks, sandwiches and hot prepared foods and convenience items.

“We’re in full swing,” said Jeff Nadalo, general counsel for the Lake Jackson, Texas-based Buc-ee’s chain, in a phone interview.

The Daytona Beach Buc-ee’s will employ 200 people.

In an interview last year, Buc-ee’s co-founder Arch “Beaver” Aplin told The Daytona Beach News-Journal that his chain’s locations are intended to cater to the “traveling automobile public” and are not to be confused with truck stops.

The only 18-wheelers allowed at Buc-ee’s locations are those delivering supplies or fuel.

Buc-ee’s considers its locations to be destination draws where motorists will go out of their way to visit. It even has billboards along interstates with messages such as “Only 262 miles to Buc-ee’s. You can hold it.”

The chain touts the cleanliness of its large restrooms, which are constantly maintained and stocked by full-time attendants.

The chain’s stores also carry a wide array of snacks, including its own line of jerky and “Beaver Nuggets” (caramel-coated corn puffs), travel convenience items, fresh made barbecue, sandwiches, pastries, fudge, and “unique apparel,” gifts and handmade craft items.

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Orlando developer unveils major project near Daytona’s Margaritaville

An Orlando developer has announced plans for a massive 2,600-acre mixed-use development along State Road 40 north of Latitude Margaritaville that could become home to 10,000+ residents as well as businesses. The developer also says Avalon Park Daytona will add more than $2 billion in tax revenues for the city and county.

DAYTONA BEACH — Latitude Margaritaville is about to get a big new neighbor.

An Orlando developer has agreed to buy 2,600 acres of undeveloped land directly north of the fast-growing Jimmy Buffett 55-and-older community here.

Plans call for creating a massive mixed-use development called Avalon Park Daytona, that upon completion in a decade or more, will become home to more than 10,000 residents as well as businesses.

Upon completion, the massive development will stretch along the south side of State Road 40/West Granada Boulevard just east of Interstate 95, from Tymber Creek Road west to Tiger Bay State Forest.

It will be across from Ormond Beach’s Breakaway Trails and Hunter’s Ridge communities on the north side of SR-40.

“The intention is to begin developing immediately, but until the site plan gets approved (by the City of Daytona Beach) we won’t be able to put a timeline on it,” said Stephanie Lerret, a spokeswoman for the project’s developers, Orlando-based Avalon Park Group and Switzerland-based SiteEx Properties Holding AG.

Beat Kahli, a Swiss national who is CEO of both Avalon Park Group and SiteEx, said his goal is to start infrastructure work late next year and begin construction of the first homes, along with a small “downtown” in early to mid-2021.

“We are not just developers, we’re town builders,” he said in a phone interview.

While plans for Avalon Park Daytona have yet to be finalized, Kahli said he envisions building a town that will have approximately 6,000 homes, including single-family houses, apartments and townhouses, as well as restaurants, shops, a grocery store, schools, medical facilities, churches, and offices.

Kahli said he is also planning to launch a global network of “co-use office” complexes called The 5th Floor that will include a location at Avalon Park Daytona.

For a membership fee, businesspeople can work out of and meet with clients at any 5th Floor location, including Orlando, Tampa, as well as in Australia, Singapore, and Switzerland.

Avalon Park Daytona, when fully built out, will add more than $2 billion in ad valorem tax revenues for the City of Daytona Beach and Volusia County, Kahli said.

Although the north side of State Road 40/Granada Boulevard is Ormond Beach, the land Avalon Park Group is buying from Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. and Magnetar Capital is within the city limits of Daytona Beach.

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Orlando’s Avalon Park Group under contract for 2,500+ acres next to Margaritaville at Daytona

DEC 10, 2019 | 4:19 PM 

This is an example of the type of mixed-use building that bidder Avalon Park Group plans to build in the town center of its new master planned community in Daytona Beach. (Avalon Park Group)

Orlando-based Avalon Park Group has signed a purchase agreement to developer over 2,500 acres in Daytona Beach for a new master-planned community that will likely exceed the size of its namesake community in Orange County.

The land is currently owned by Consolidated- Tomoka Land Co and is located on State Road 40, just west of Interstate 95, next to Latitude Margaritaville.

“This property gives us a great canvas to create a place where people can find everything they need in every stage of their lives,” said Beat Kahli, CEO of Avalon Park Group and its Swiss sister company, sitEX. “When complete, Avalon Park Daytona will be a destination the city and the area will be proud of.”

He told GrowthSpotter the company has already begun the master planning process for the site, while CTLC finalizes the entitlements. He met yesterday with Daytona Beach officials to begin the discussions for a transportation network that will link directly to the Margaritaville-branded retirement community on its southern border.

Avalon Park Group has a purchase contract for two parcels (yellow star) totaling nearly 2,600 acres in Daytona Beach. The master planned community will share a border with Latitude Margaritaville. (Consolidated Tomoka Land Co./staff edit)

Avalon Park Daytona will be designed using the company’s signature New Urbanist concepts, with thousands of homes and its own downtown city center. Kahli said he expects the build out period to extend beyond 10 years and eventually reach $2 billion in value.

Avalon Park Group began constructing its first master-planned community more than 20 years ago. The company is also currently developing Avalon Park-branded communities in Wesley Chapel, just north of Tampa, and in Tavares with the same design principals.

“We are long-term developers,” he said. “I’m still young enough to build another town.”

It was that long-term commitment, and strong financial standing, that led Consolidated Tomoka to approach Avalon, according to President and CEO John P. Albright. He told GrowthSpotter Avalon was recommended to him by a homebuilder because of its successful track record.

“There’s a demand for homesites from builders who need a developer to deliver a high quality community that will stand the test of time,” Albright said. “They’re the perfect kind of developer to build something that’s more holistic and has a long-term view.”

The master plan will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2020, but Kahli said one thing is certain: that APG would commence construction on its town center during the first phase of construction. That includes its typical 4-story mixed-use buildings with multifamily and commercial upstairs and ground-floor retail.

“That’s our forte,” he said. “We build a town organically. We built Avalon Park Orlando from scratch where before it was just cows. Now we have 60,000 people and our own downtown. There’s not so many people who build entire towns and stick with it for 25 years.”

Kahli said the Daytona site was attractive because it extends the company’s footprint further east along the I-4 corridor.

“We’re in Tampa, Orlando and now Daytona,” he said. “We’re excited that we now have that last piece of the puzzle. We believe it’s one of the most exciting economic corridors in the U.S. It gives us synergy because each site is far enough apart that they don’t cannibalize each other. ”

Kahli said he has invited Daytona Beach officials for a follow-up meeting at Avalon Park Orlando, so they can get a perspective of what the finished product will look like. Company executives and planners also will meet with Volusia County school officials to discuss planning for future school sites within the community.

“We want to invest in schools, no question,” he said. “I have 200 employees here in Avalon Park, and most of them moved here because of the schools. We will either do a partnership with the school board and offer them sites or do a charter school – or both – and hopefully even partner with a university.”

Kahli said APG will lead the initial planning with its in-house staff but will seek local consultants for environmental and transportation planning.

Albright said he anticipates the land closing in early summer 2020. This is the second time this month Consolidated Tomoka has partnered with an Orlando developer. The company sold 31 acres near the I-95/LPGA Boulevard interchange to Unicorp National Development for $4.6 million.

“We’re excited that Chuck (Whittall) has bought the property,” Albright said. “He’s planning to do multifamily, which we’re greatly in need of. We’re excited to get his expertise.”

Consolidated’s big month was a real bell-ringer

In Consolidated- Tomoka Land Co.’s 117-year history, it’s safe to say the Daytona Beach company has never had a bigger month than it had this past October. After a relatively quiet first two weeks, the company on Oct. 16 announced the $97 million sale of a controlling stake in the remaining 5,300 acres of undeveloped land it owned in Daytona Beach.

The sale of land mostly in the area surrounding the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard, in one single transaction to Evanston, Illinois based Magnetar Capital, shattered the record Consolidated-Tomoka set last year for most revenue generated in a single year — $60 million — from sales of undeveloped real estate.

Two days later, the company announced the $3.45 million sale of its two golf courses as well as the clubhouse at LPGA International to Virginia-based Fore Golf Services Inc. Then on Oct. 23, Consolidated-Tomoka made another big announcement, or rather, two of them: plans for an upcoming an initial public offering of common stock shares in a new separate company it is forming called Alpine Income Property Trust Inc., as well as plans to change its own name at the beginning of 2020 to CTO Realty Growth. CTO also happens to be the symbol for Consolidated-Tomoka’s common stock, which trades on the NYSE American stock exchange.

Alpine, a real estate investment trust, is expected to have its common stock shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PINE.” It will initially consist of 20 single-tenant income-producing properties that it will purchase from Consolidated-Tomoka as the company soon to be known as CTO shifts its primary focus to investing in multitenant commercial properties. But Albright will become CEO of both companies as Alpine will be managed by Consolidated-Tomoka. The two companies will also share the same headquarters offices in Daytona Beach at 1140 Williamson Blvd.

Consolidated- Tomoka on Oct. 16 also announced its third quarter earnings, which included an increase in net income per share to 31 cents, up from 26 cents for the same period a year ago. Turns out, October included another big milestone for the company. On Oct. 16, Consolidated-Tomoka for the first time in its history rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange to mark the 50th anniversary of its becoming a public company. “We were thrilled to have represented the shareholders of Consolidated-Tomoka in celebrating 50 years of trading on the NYSE,” said Albright who wielded the wooden mallet used to ring the stock change’s closing bell. It as a “very cool experience,” Albright said. “Not many companies have that distinction (of ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange).”

Albright was accompanied by co-workers Mark Patten, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Consolidated-Tomoka, and Tammy MacIsaac, the company’s land information manager. MacIsaac also is the company’s longestserving current employee, having joined the staff at Consolidated-Tomoka 33 years ago, Albright said. Also taking part in the trip to the NYSE in New York City were the current members of Consolidated-Tomoka’s board of directors, led by chairwoman Laura Franklin, as well as past-board member William L. Olivari, former partner of Ormond Beach certified public accounting firm Olivari & Associates. Consolidated- Tomoka employs 15 workers.

Clayton Park is business editor of The Daytona Beach News- Journal. He can be reached at

Land is in the ‘rearview mirror’ for this Central Florida real estate firm. Here’s what’s next.

Jack Witthaus
Staff Writer
Orlando Business Journal

A mega acreage deal may help transition Daytona Beach’s largest landowner into a real estate investment trust.

Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. (NYSE American: CTO) revealed it sold a controlling interest on Oct. 16 in all — yes all — of its 5,300 acres in Daytona Beach. The Daytona Beach-based real estate company sold the land for $97 million to funds managed by Evanston, Illinois-based hedge fund Magnetar Capital, whose Magnetar Financial LLC owns about 4.6% of the company’s shares, according to Yahoo Finance. Investors in Consolidated-Tomoka seemed pleased, as the company’s stock price grew 6.4% by the market’s close on Oct. 17.

Consolidated-Tomoka President and CEO John Albright told investors on a not-so-typical third-quarter earnings call that land was in the “rearview mirror.” “The market wasn’t valuing the land whatsoever as far as where our stock’s been trading. So right now, we are very focused on investing that capital in income-producing properties.”

That excited some investors on the call who saw the deal as a potential opportunity to turn the company into a REIT, which essentially owns and leases space. The income from the REIT’s leased properties then is given as dividends to shareholders.

Albright declined to say Oct. 17 if the company would become a REIT. He told Orlando Business Journal in a statement that the 5,300-acre “joint venture” deal with Magnetar Capital allows the company “more flexibility in how we structure deals with developers.”

But Alrbight did say in the earnings call that the deal “definitely speeds up the conversation about what’s next for CTO” and said there would be more communication on what that next step for the company would be.

That didn’t stop analysts from weighing in on the REIT speculation during the earnings call.

“I just want to say up front, I give my vote toward becoming a REIT sooner rather than later,” said Brian Rohman, a portfolio manager and analyst for Boston-based Boston Partners Global Investors Inc., which owns about 2.8% of the company.

Investors later speculated that Consolidated-Tomoka’s ownership of the LPGA International Golf Club would be a roadblock to becoming a REIT. But that roadblock apparently has been cleared. On Oct. 18, Consolidated-Tomoka announced it had sold the golf club for about $3.5 million to an affiliate of Manassas, Virginia-based Fore Golf Services Inc. The LPGA International Golf Club had suffered “significant operating losses,” Albright said in a prepared statement.

Consolidated-Tomoka’s stock was trading higher as of late morning Oct. 18, and its stock has a 52-week range of $49.23-$68.64. The company traces its roots back to 1902, and at one point owned more than 1.8 million acres of land in Florida.

Daytona’s LPGA golf courses have new owner

Daytona Beach’s LPGA International has been sold for $3.45 million to Fore Golf Partners, a Virginia-based company that has owned and managed more than 100 private clubs, daily fee golf courses and resorts over the past 38 years.

DAYTONA BEACH — The pair of golf courses at LPGA International have a new owner, the beginning of a new chapter for the popular courses that have bled money for decades.

Fore Golf Partners late Thursday completed its $3.45 million purchase of the two 18-hole courses on the city’s west side. The Virginia-based company acquired the 657-acre golf club property from Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co.

Daytona Beach-based Consolidated-Tomoka, which announced the deal Friday morning, also said it paid off its remaining liability to the city totaling $540,000.

That payment covered the per-round surcharge the company agreed to pay the city in connection with its prior buyout of the land lease with the city.

Manassas, Virginia-based Fore Golf, in turn, agreed to pay Consolidated-Tomoka $560,000 in the future based on a per-round surcharge of $1.50 for each round of golf played at LPGA Golf Club.

“We’re pleased to have completed the sale of the golf operations, which has sustained significantly operating losses throughout the history of the Golf Club and required substantial capital expenditures in recent years,” said Consolidated-Tomoka CEO John Albright.

“We’re glad to transition the golf courses to an experienced operator,” said Albright, whose company owns income-producing commercial real estate properties in multiple states. “This (operating golf courses) is not our core business.”

The sale included the Clubhouse at LPGA International, which includes a restaurant called Malcolm’s Bar & Grill as well as a golf pro shop. LPGA Golf Club employs approximately 125 full-and part-time employees.

“The bulk of the jobs are going to stay with the new owner,” Albright said, adding that there may be changes in senior management positions at the golf club.

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In $97M deal, Consolidated sells control of Daytona land holdings

A Chicago area institutional investor is the new majority owner of the 5,300 acres of undeveloped land in Daytona’s LPGA area.

DAYTONA BEACH — In a move that took Daytona Beach city officials by surprise, Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. announced late Wednesday its sale of a controlling interest in the remaining undeveloped land it owns here to a Chicago area-based investment group.

“I just got an email (from Consolidated-Tomoka) saying that they sold (a 66.5 percent stake in) all 5,300 acres in Daytona Beach for $97 million to Magnetar Capital,” City Commissioner Rob Gilliland announced at the end of Wednesday night’s commission meeting. “That’s a huge deal to us.”

Gilliland’s comments, which can be heard on the video recording of the meeting on the city’s website, appeared to stun the other commissioners, including Mayor Derrick Henry.

Mark Patten, the chief financial officer for Daytona Beach-based Consolidated-Tomoka, in a phone interview, said the sale is only of the “raw” land that the company owned in the area on both sides of the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange, and did not include its properties in downtown Daytona Beach or on A1A or West International Speedway Boulevard.

Consolidated-Tomoka continues to be the sole owner of the former First Baptist Church property in downtown Daytona Beach, the six acres along A1A that it leases to Landshark Bar & Grill and the new Crabby’s Oceanside restaurant, as well as the recently vacated former Barnes & Noble property on West International Speedway Boulevard, across from Daytona International Speedway, Patten confirmed.

And while Evanston, Illinois-based Magnetar will now has final say on what happens to the 5,300 acres, Consolidated-Tomoka will continue to manage the land, Patten said.

“We will work with them on how they want to manage the portfolio,” he said.

Consolidated-Tomoka CEO John Albright in a news release described the sale of the controlling stake to Magnetar as a “transformative transaction (that) unlocks significant value from our remaining legacy holdings in Daytona Beach.”

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