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Downtown Daytona project gets first 2 approvals

City commissioners unanimously approved zoning and comprehensive plan changes that allow up to 300 new luxury apartments, shops, a grocery store, restaurants and parking garage on the block just east of Ridgewood Avenue that’s been occupied by First Baptist Church since 1898.

DAYTONA BEACH — A key block in the city’s historic downtown core took a leap toward the future Wednesday night.

City commissioners unanimously approved zoning and comprehensive plan changes that allow up to 300 new luxury apartments, shops, a grocery store, restaurants and parking garage on the block just east of Ridgewood Avenue that’s been occupied by First Baptist Church since 1898. The church is building a new campus on Tomoka Farms Road and is relocating this fall.

“I think it’ll have a large impact downtown and bring people back downtown again,” City Commissioner Ruth Trager said after Wednesday’s meeting. “It’s a lovely part of the city with Riverfront Park. The idea of a grocery store there to me is very exciting. I can see nothing but positivity.”

The vote was the first of two decisions needed from city commissioners to solidify the changes. Final votes on amending the property’s comprehensive plan and switching the zoning from downtown redevelopment to planned development are slated to be taken at commissioners’ June 19 meeting. A yes vote on the comprehensive plan changes would allow more of the property to be designated for high-intensity uses and increase the density from 40 dwelling units per acre to 150 housing units per acre.

Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. has bought out most of the block dominated by First Baptist’s buildings. The block, which until recently was also home to First Methodist Church, is bordered by Ridgewood Avenue, International Speedway Boulevard, Palmetto Avenue and Bay Street.

Demolition of the three First Baptist buildings remaining on the property could start in October and construction will begin next year.

Designs are being finalized, but for now the conceptual plan puts a five-story apartment building on the corner of Bay Street and Palmetto Avenue. The multi-story parking garage, which could have at least 400 parking spaces, would stand at Ridgewood and Bay. The design shows the garage and apartment building connected by a covered pedestrian overpass and street-level retail shops in both buildings.

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

If city commissioners approve the land use changes, the city and Consolidated-Tomoka officials will sign off on a planned district agreement that would require the first round of applications for construction permits to be submitted within five years. Construction would have to be substantially complete within eight years. Any additional phases would have to be complete within 20 years.

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Grocery store wars heat up

DAYTONA BEACH — The area’s first Lucky’s Market roared out of the gate in Ormond Beach earlier this month and continues to draw hordes of shoppers more than a week after its grand opening.

“Oh my gosh, it’s been phenomenal. The crowds keep coming,” said Melissa Bradford, store director for the beachside Lucky’s at 101 E. Granada Blvd., on Thursday.

But the upscale Colorado-based grocer is just one of a number of national supermarket chains expanding their presence in the greater Daytona Beach area.

Others include ALDI, the German-based discount grocer that is set to open a new store in Ormond Beach along West Granada Boulevard this fall, as well as Lakeland-based Publix Supermarkets, which is opening a 54,000-square-foot store at New Smyrna Beach Regional Shopping Center on May 23 that will be its largest in the Volusia-Flagler area.

Publix is also set to open a store this fall off of LPGA Boulevard in Daytona Beach, just west of Interstate 95.

The store will become the anchor tenant of a shopping center called Latitude Landings next to the entrance of the fast-growing Jimmy Buffett-themed Latitude Margaritaville 55-and-older community.

Lucky’s is also believed to be considering a second store in the area at the northeast corner of LPGA and Williamson boulevards in Daytona Beach.

And developers have proposed grocery store-anchored projects in both downtown Daytona Beach and Port Orange.

In addition, Sam’s Club is nearing completion of a new membership warehouse store on the southeast quadrant of the Interstate 95/LPGA Boulevard interchange.

The 140,000-square-foot store at Tomoka Town Center, which is set to open in either late July or early August, will replace the existing nearly 30-year-old Sam’s Club store on Beville Road.

The increase in supermarkets here comes amid a growing battle among grocers both locally and nationally that includes e-commerce giant Amazon and Internet home delivery meal kit providers such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh.

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