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Daytona Beach-based CTO, Texas-based Timberline close 1,600-acre deal

By Richard Bilbao  –  Digital Producer/Senior Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal

Daytona Beach-based CTO Realty Growth Inc. (NYSE: CTO) has completed the sale of approximately 1,600 acres of land in Daytona Beach to Austin, Texas-based Timberline Real Estate Partners affiliate Timberline Acquisition Partners.

CTO, a real estate investment giant, closed the deal as part of a joint venture with Evanston, Illinois-based hedge fund Magnetar Capital on Dec. 10. The closing price for the deal was $66.3 million — or nearly $41,000 per acre, according to a news release.

The funds from the Timberline sale will go toward repaying its unsecured revolving credit facility, as well as general corporate and working capital purposes.

“We’re thrilled to be completing this final land sale, which provides us with meaningful non-income producing equity to redeploy into our core investment strategy of acquiring high-quality, multi-tenanted retail and mixed-used properties,” said John P. Albright, president and CEO of CTO Realty Growth, via a prepared statement. “As we look toward 2022, the redeployment of proceeds from this final sale will enhance our corporate credit metrics, improve our dividend coverage and drive increased organic [funds from operations] and [adjusted funds from operations] per share growth.”

Uses for the land include a logistics park, multifamily, retail and commercial, previously said Timberline CEO Stan Nix in a prepared statement. Executives with the company were not available for comment.

Big land owner

CTO said the sale ends a 111-year role it held as a significant land owner in Florida, which at one time amounted to approximately 2 million acres. The company had been selling off its remaining 11,000 acres over the past 10 years for more than $287 million combined. Those proceeds were reinvested into other company assets.

The land deal comes on the heels of an even bigger local transaction that occurred in July 2020.

That’s when Orlando-based developer Avalon Park Group/Sitex Properties USA Inc. bought 3,015 acres from CTO for about $40.9 million, or $13,565 an acre. That’s where Avalon Park Group/SitEX plans to build 10,000 residential units along with other commercial development.

Construction trends

New construction starts rose 10% to $889.7 billion in September, according to Hamilton, New Jersey-based Dodge Data & Analytics. Non-residential starts gained 15% to hit $281.8 billion. However, that’s not without some challenges.

“Construction starts have struggled over the last three months as concerns over rising prices, shortages of materials and scarce labor led to declines in activity,” Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Construction Network, said in a prepared statement.

“The increase in September, however, partially allays the fear that construction is headed for a free-fall and shows that owners and developers are still ready to move ahead with projects. Starts are likely to continue to trend in a positive but sawtooth fashion in the coming months until a more balanced recovery takes hold next year.”

More restaurants, retail, luxury apartments coming to Daytona Beach’s red-hot LPGA area

DAYTONA BEACH — An antique car-themed restaurant, a three-in-one Rooms To Go home furnishings store, and a new shopping center taking shape across the street are among the developments coming to Daytona Beach’s LPGA area.

Construction projects are underway along LPGA Boulevard on both sides of Interstate 95. A glance at the Daytona Beach City Commission’s agenda in recent months as well as its meeting this week shows even more commercial development, new homes and apartments in the works for the area’s fast-growing east-west corridor.

“There’s a lot of strong momentum,” said Scott Goldsmith, vice president of leasing and development for North American Development Group.

The West Palm Beach-based company is the developer of the Tomoka Town Center on the southeast side of the I-95/LPGA Boulevard interchange where Rooms To Go and the Ford’s Garage restaurant are under construction.

Tomoka Town Center offers more than a half-million square feet of retail shops and restaurants including anchors Hobby Lobby, Academy Sports and Dave & Buster’s. The center, which is adjacent to Sam’s Club and Tanger Outlets mall, has welcomed the opening of several new tenants this year. They include Salsa’s Mexican Restaurant, a shoe store called Good Feet, and another store called Buff City Soaps.

“There’s a few deals in the works, but we’re not prepared to announce them yet,” said Goldsmith.

A Ford Model T can be seen parked in front of the future Ford’s Garage restaurant on the corner of Cornerstone and Outlet boulevards. It will be the chain’s first location in the Volusia-Flagler area.

“We’ve been told they expect to open by either the end of this year or in the first month or two of 2022,” said Goldsmith.

Spokepersons for both the Ford’s Garage chain as well as Rooms To Go did not respond to requests for comment.

The Ford’s Garage restaurant at 1115 Cornerstone Blvd. is across from Dave & Buster’s, Culver’s and Chipotle. It will be the Tampa-based chain’s first eatery along Florida’s east coast.

“We’re very excited to come to the Daytona community,” said Marc Brown, president of both the Ford’s Garage chain as well as its parent company 23 Restaurant Services, in a 2019 phone interview.

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Avalon Park Daytona poised to break ground for 1,600 homes, retail space later this year

First phase to bring 1,600 homes, commercial development to area west of I-95

DAYTONA BEACH — Orlando developer Beat Kahli confirmed plans to break ground on the first phase of his massive Avalon Park Daytona Beach development here in the second half of this year.

The native of Switzerland also expects to soon complete his purchase of 6,200 acres of timberland on the other side of Tiger Bay State Forest for his development. He hopes to build a 300-megawatt solar farm, pending regulatory approval.

The initial phase of Avalon Park Daytona Beach will bring more than 1,600 homes and 90,000 square feet of commercial space to an area along the south side of State Road 40/West Granada Boulevard roughly a mile west of Interstate 95.

A number of area residents have raised concerns about the enormous size of the planned Avalon Park Daytona Beach development. But consider this:

The commercial space in the initial phase will be less than double the size of the 53,000-square-foot mega Buc-ee’s convenience store that opened March 22 four miles to the south, next to the I-95/LPGA Boulevard interchange.

Upon full build out, however, the 3,000-acre Avalon Park Daytona Beach development is slated to have 10,000 homes, townhouses and apartments and 1 million square feet of commercial space. The latter would be nearly the size of Volusia Mall.

Kahli said it likely will take at least 20 years to get to that point.

“Look at how long it took for Avalon Park Orlando,” he said. “We moved in the first homeowners in the summer of 1999. It took us five to six years to have the core of the town and more than 20 to finish it. I always like to grow organically. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

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Daytona Beach to get bigger VA clinic in early 2024

DAYTONA BEACH — The Veterans Affairs outpatient center set to be built along Williamson Boulevard will begin serving patients in early 2024, the Orlando VA Healthcare Systems announced this week.

When it opens, the 130,000-square-foot center will replace two smaller, older VA facilities in Daytona Beach and offer a broader range of services. Currently, some military veterans living in east Volusia County have to make an hour-long drive to Orlando to receive certain VA services.

Wednesday’s announcement comes four months after an Ohio developer won the bidding for a federal government contract to build the multi-specialty clinic for the VA. The planned building is set to be built along the west side of Williamson, directly south of Daytona State College’s Advanced Technology College.

The new VA clinic will be on a 78-acre site that the developer put under contract to buy from Volusia County Schools in late 2019. The developer, Westlake, Ohio-based Carnegie Management & Development Corp., has agreed to pay $4.5 million for the mostly wooded land. 

The federal contract calls for the new VA clinic to provide at least 106,826-square-foot of usable space for a wide range of uses including primary medical care, mental health and specialty medical care services and physical rehabilitation services. The clinic will include an on-site medical laboratory, a pharmacy, and eye and dental clinics.

“The new clinic is a consolidation and relocation of existing services,” said Andrea Madrazo, a spokeswoman for Orlando VA Healthcare Systems.

The new VA clinic could create nearly 20 new jobs when it opens, she said.

“As we get closer to the opening date of the new site of care, additional services may be added based on the demand,” Madrazo added. “The design of the space will be as flexible as possible to allow for adjustments in services as according to the needs of our veterans.”

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Significantly more retail, apartments coming to Daytona’s LPGA area in 2021

DAYTONA BEACH — When Cindy Ferrera moved her business to the new Latitude Landings shopping center in late 2019, it only took five minutes to drive to the nearby Tanger Outlets on the other side of Interstate 95.

“It now takes me 15 minutes to get there at lunchtime and it’s not even a mile away,” said the State Farm Insurance agent. Ferrera said it’s an astonishing indicator of how fast Daytona Beach’s LPGA area has grown in the past year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

That growth includes hundreds of new homes at the Jimmy Buffett-themed Latitude Margaritaville 55-and-older community next door, several new luxury apartment complexes and more new shops and restaurants, both at Latitude Landings as well as at Tomoka Town Center where Tanger Outlets is located.

Development is not going to slow in the LPGA area in 2021.

The New Year will see growth there accelerate even faster with a new 21-acre shopping center called the Shoppes at Williamson Crossing set to open across the street from Tomoka Town Center.

Two more shopping areas are poised to break ground in 2021: the Cornerstone Exchange retail center planned behind Cornerstone Office Park on the southwest corner of LPGA and Williamson boulevards; and the Tymber Creek Village development planned across the street from Latitude Landings.

All told, the three new shopping centers could bring nearly a half-million square feet of additional retail stores, restaurants and service businesses to the LPGA area.

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When will Daytona, St. Augustine Buc-ee’s open?

Texas chain’s supersized gas stations to be largest in Florida

Two supersized Buc-ee’s gas station/convenience stores  are on track to open in St. Augustine and Daytona Beach some time in the first three months of the New Year, an official for the Texas-based chain confirmed.

“St. Johns (County) first then Daytona in Q1,” wrote Jeff Nadalo, chief general counsel for Buc-ee’s Ltd. in a brief text message. “We don’t have (exact opening) dates yet. Check back in a few weeks.”

The Buc-ee’s gas stations in St. Augustine and Daytona Beach will be the chain’s first in Florida. Each is expected to provide a welcome boost to the local economy by creating hundreds of jobs and serving as a destination stop for motorists along Interstate 95. But they are also raising concerns by area residents over the increased traffic congestion they will likely cause.

Gas stations to be biggest in Florida

The Buc-ee’s in St. Johns County is nearing completion at 200 World Commerce Parkway, next to World Golf Village on the southwest side of the Interstate 95/International Golf Parkway interchange (Exit 323). The gas station will have 104 fueling pumps, briefly making it the largest in Florida when it opens.

That’s because the Buc-ee’s under construction on the northeast side of the I-95/LPGA Boulevard interchange in Daytona Beach will be even larger: offering 120 fueling pumps.

Both Buc-ee’s will include a 53,000-square-foot convenience store larger than most grocery stores.

The largest gas station in Florida currently is the 38-pump Busy Bee truck stop in Live Oak which also has a 20,000-square-foot convenience store.

The St. Augustine and Daytona Beach Buc-ee’s stores will be the chain’s first in Florida. Unlike the Busy Bee, Buc-ee’s gas stations are not truck stops and do not allow 18-wheelers with the exception of those making deliveries to the store.

Both the St. Augustine and Daytona Beach Buc-ee’s will employ 200 workers each. Eighty percent will be full time and all will be eligible to receive benefits, said Nadalo.

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Ohio developer faces competing bid by Chicago developer to build new VA clinic in Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH — One thing appears certain: the Daytona Beach area will soon be getting a new Veterans Affairs outpatient center. What has yet to be determined is who will build it.

Just days after a Cleveland, Ohio, developer became the first to publicly unveil plans to build a VA clinic here, a Chicago, Illinois area-based developer has stepped forward with its competing project that would be built next door.

And there could be more, conceded Joshua Hausman, a principal and co-owner of Lake Forest, Illinois-based WD Schorsch.

“We would welcome the opportunity to build the VA clinic in Daytona Beach,” said Hausman whose company submitted its bid under the name of a subsidiary called JTW Development. “The fact is, it’s a closed bid process so we have no idea who we’re competing with.”

John Albright, CEO of Daytona Beach-based CTO Realty Growth Inc., confirmed that JTW Development agreed in January to put 15 acres under contract to buy from his company. The site is along the west side of Williamson Boulevard, one block north of LPGA Boulevard.

Albright said a third developer had been looking to potentially buy another site further north on Williamson from his company in hopes of competing to land the federal government contract to build the new VA clinic. That developer backed out after the federal government ruled out the site because of potential flooding concerns.

Albright declined to identify the third developer. He said the federal government’s rejection of the site was because of an “old map that needed to be updated.” “It’s not actually in a flood plain,” he said.

“I hear there actually could be another (fourth) developer out there (bidding for the VA contract) as well.” he added. “I don’t know where the other site is.”

The federal government is expected to make its decision by the end of September.

The VA clinic that Hausman’s company is proposing to develop would be a two-story building offering a total of 138,108 square feet of space, according to a copy of site plans obtained by The News-Journal.

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JTD Land plans new homes in Daytona Beach

By Alex Soderstrom  – Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal

A recent land buy in Volusia County will tee off the construction of 140 new homes near the LPGA International golf course. 

Kissimmee-based developer JTD Land Co. LLC bought 98 acres in Daytona Beach in a deal that closed Aug. 11, CTO Realty Growth announced. The entity that sold the property is related to Daytona Beach-based CTO (NYSE: CTO).

‘Aggressive’ for local land 

JTD Land paid $2.8 million for the land and plans to develop the site into a subdivision with single-family homes that can be accessed via LPGA Boulevard. JTD Land Vice President Craig Harris declined to comment on the project. 

The timeline for the project is unknown. 

It’s not the only planned development near the LPGA golf course. Clearwater-based Boos Development Group Inc. wants to rezone roughly 61.4 acres northeast of LPGA Boulevard and Tournament Drive for apartments and 11 commercial parcels for its Tymber Creek Village project, according to documents recently filed with the state. 

The area has seen “virtually no” development activity since the early 2000s, which makes it ripe for new construction as Daytona Beach grows, John Albright, president and CEO of CTO, previously told Orlando Business Journal. In recent years, new residential and commercial developments nearby, such as Latitude Margaritaville and a Trader Joe’s distribution site, have brought new homes and jobs to the area, which creates demand for more retail and apartments.

Volusia County is ideal for single-family home development due to its low cost of land, Brad Parker, a land expert with Longwood-based Southern Realty, told OBJ. As suburban Orlando counties such as Osceola County get more expensive for construction, development will move further outside Orlando, he said. 

“I see people getting more aggressive to get land in Volusia County.” 

Home demand on the rise  

New homes are important locally because construction creates jobs and subcontractor opportunities. Plus, local housing activity often is considered a reflection of the overall health of the local economy. Every home sale in the state has an estimated local economic impact of $77,858, according to a 2018 study by the National Association of Realtors. 

There were 1,154 homes sold in the Daytona Beach area in the first quarter, up 19.6% from 965 sold in first-quarter 2019, according to the most recent data from the Daytona Beach Association of Realtors. The median sales price of $250,000 was up 6.4% from first-quarter 2019’s $235,000. 

Like Daytona Beach, home sales are up in Orlando. There were 3,103 homes sold in the region in June, down 9% from 3,412 sold in June 2019, but up 45.9% from 2,127 sold in May, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

Home prices in Orlando are higher than Daytona Beach, with Orlando boasting a median home sales price of $265,000. 

Boos Development to build apartments, retail near LPGA International golf course

By Jack Witthaus  – Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal

A Clearwater developer wants to build a mixed-use project near a Daytona Beach golf course to cater to the area’s fast growth.

Boos Development Group Inc. wants to rezone roughly 61.4 acres northeast of LPGA Boulevard and Tournament Drive for apartments and 11 commercial parcels for its Tymber Creek Village project, according to documents filed with the state. The site currently features woods and wetlands and is zoned for single-family homes.

Plans call for retail space to include an auto parts store, bank, coffee shop, medical offices and a drug store. A Boos Development representative wasn’t available for comment.

The estimated project cost and timeline weren’t known.

The area has seen “virtually no” development activity since the early 2000s, which makes it ripe for new construction as Daytona Beach grows, said John Albright, president and CEO of Daytona Beach-based CTO Realty Growth (NYSE American: CTO), who isn’t involved in the project. In recent years, new developments nearby such as Latitude Margaritaville and a Trader Joe’s distribution site has brought new homes and jobs to the area, which creates demand for more retail and apartments.

“It’s kind of like an oil well being drilled and hitting the mother lode,” Albright said of area’s commercial demand.

Developer completes $40.9M buy of 3,000 acres in Daytona

The developer of the planned 10,000-home Avalon Park Daytona community north of Latitude Margaritaville on Tuesday completed his $40.9 million purchase of more than 3,000 acres. Developer Beat Kahli says he expects to break ground in 2021.

DAYTONA BEACH — Developer Beat Kahli took a big step this week to bringing his vision of creating a new town here closer to reality.

The developer on Tuesday completed a $40.9 million purchase of just over 3,000 acres along the south side of State Road 40/West Granada Boulevard.

“We’re going full speed ahead,” said Kahli, the chairman and CEO of Orlando-based Avalon Park Group and SitEX Properties USA.

Kahli said he plans to break ground on the community called Avalon Park Daytona in 2021.

On full build-out the community is expected to bring 10,000 homes and a 400-acre downtown to the fast-growing area west of Interstate 95. It will be directly north of the Jimmy Buffett-themed Latitude Margaritaville 55-and-older community and ICI Homes’ 1,200-home Mosaic “full life” community off of LPGA Boulevard.

The land sale is the biggest ever in terms of dollar amount in the Daytona Beach area to a single developer, according to John Albright, the CEO of CTO Realty Growth Inc.

CTO was the seller of the 3,015 acres to Kahli’s SitEX Properties USA. Albright’s company changed its name earlier this year from Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co.

CTO’s previous biggest land sale to a single developer was its $27.2 million sale in 2017 of 1,581 acres to Minto Communities, developer of the 3,400-home Latitude Margaritaville.

″(Kahli’s purchase) is an incredible confirmation that Daytona is a very attractive location for developers,” said Albright.

“The success of Latitude Margaritaville (one of the nation’s fastest-growing 55-and-older communities in 2018 and 2019) showed that this area is highly desired,” he added.

Volusia County Property Appraiser Larry Bartlett said the land purchase by Kahli is the third largest in county history.

The biggest was a $81.2 million land sale in 2006 of roughly 5,900 acres in New Smyrna Beach to an entity known as Hammock Creek Green LLC. That same tract of land was sold in 2013 for $61.5 million and is now part of the 47,000-acre Farmton development site in southeast Volusia County that is owned by Chicago, Illinois-area developer Miami Corp.

A 1,600-acre portion of the land that Kahli purchased Tuesday was originally under contract to be sold to Minto as future expansion space for Latitude Margaritaville.

Kahli’s purchase combines both that parcel with 1,000 acres just east of Tiger Bay State Forest that were originally under contract to be sold to ICI Homes Chairman and CEO Mori Hosseini.

Both sites were entitled to accommodate residential communities that would have had thousands of homes and separate neighborhood retail centers.

Kahli’s purchase also included two additional land parcels. One is a 150-acre swath of land directly west of where Hand Avenue currently ends on the other side of I-95. The other is a 286-acre parcel that mainly consists of wetlands on the east side of Tiger Bay State Forest.

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