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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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Consolidated-Tomoka’s pending land sales could bring more homes, commercial development to area’s hottest corridor

As it prepares to host its annual shareholders meeting later this month, Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. recently announced several changes to its “pipeline” of pending real estate sales in Daytona Beach.

They included a contract to sell the 1,600 acres east of Interstate 95 on the south side of West Granada Boulevard to an unidentified developer of master-planned communities for a project that could add up to 3,400 homes and 200,000 square feet of commercial space just north of Latitude Margaritaville.

The changes to the pipeline also included some surprises to local observers.

• The termination by New York-based O’Conner Capital Partners of its contract to buy 203 acres along the east side of Interstate 95, one block north of LPGA Boulevard.

• Consolidated-Tomoka’s landing of a contract to sell the 12 remaining undeveloped acres at Cornerstone Office Park to a developer other than the owners of the business park’s two existing buildings.

• A new contract to sell 38 acres along the east side of Clyde Morris Boulevard, just north of the new B.Braun distribution center to an unidentified developer.

• The reinstatement of a previously expired contract to sell 13 acres along the east side of I-95, immediately north of Tanger Outlets mall, to Canadian developer North American Development Group.

• The reinstatement of a contract to sell nearly 14 acres on the southwest corner of LPGA and Clyde Morris boulevards to Unicorp National Development Inc. The Orlando developer had previously stated its interest in developing the site as a future expansion of its planned Shoppes at Williamson Crossing retail complex, whose first phase is on the southeast corner of LPGA and Williamson boulevards behind the existing RaceTrac gas station.

Consolidated-Tomoka CEO John Albright characterized the termination of the O’Connor deal as part of “a return to normal” for his company’s pipeline of pending land sales, which has had most of its deals come to fruition in recent years.

The company last year sold 2,700 acres for a total of nearly $60 million, the most it has made from land sales in its 117-year history.

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Mosaic grand opening in Daytona gets off to strong start

DAYTONA BEACH — When ICI Homes Chairman and CEO Mori Hosseini came up with the idea to create a “full life” community here, he envisioned a place where people of all ages and from all walks of life could come together.

That’s exactly what he saw this past weekend at the grand opening of the first model homes at his new Mosaic community off of LPGA Boulevard, west of Interstate 95.

On Saturday, when the event was held, more than 1,000 people turned out, said Hosseini, adding that the crowd was so large at times that his staff was unable to count everyone.

“We saw young families with kids and we saw retirees,” he said.

He added that when he dropped by on Sunday, he was thrilled to see the five model homes filled with people as well.

“For the weekend, we had over 1,500,” he estimated.

Encouraged by the strong turnout, Hosseini said his company expects to quickly sell out its 350-lot first phase and is now working to prepare a second phase of the planned 1,200-home community.

When fully built out, Mosaic will stretch from Father Lopez Catholic High School north to Tournament Drive and Champion Elementary School.

The community will include a wide range of amenities including a residents’ clubhouse with a fitness center and activities room, community pools, an amphitheater with covered stage for live music and community events, walking/jogging trails, a lake where residents will be able to fish, a boardwalk, a tot-friendly kids play area, a community garden and pocket parks. All homes at Mosaic are designed to be energy efficient with “smart” features that allow residents to control air-conditioning, heating, and lighting, via smart phone. WiFi hotspots will be located at gathering areas throughout the community.

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Adopting a laid-back attitude at Latitude Margaritaville

For Don and Susan Veatch, Margaritaville is more than just a state of mind.

Acting like “Parrotheads” — the chilled out, Hawaiian-shirt-wearing fan nation equivalent to Deadheads — the couple, 62 and 60, respectively, had camped out so they could be first in line for the object of their devotion, singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett.

But they weren’t queuing up for concert tickets or his latest CD. They were waiting for sales to open at the Buffett-branded Latitude Margaritaville development here for people 55 and older.

“It was like a big party, with a band playing and free pizza for everyone in line,” Susan Veatch said.

In this pastel paradise, Key West-inspired houses are being built along streets linked to lyrics of Buffett’s 1977 hit “Margaritaville.”

Once it opens, you can live on Flip Flop Court, Coral Reef Way or St. Somewhere Drive. You can take your dog to the Barkaritaville pet spa; work out in the Fins Up! Fitness Center or the Paradise Pool; take classes or do a little work at the Workin’ and Playin’ Center; see shows at the Last Mango Theater; or dance at a nightly outdoor concert at the band shell in the Latitude Town Square.

And, yes, you can get a Cheeseburger in Paradise at the Latitude Bar & Chill restaurant and a margarita at the poolside Changes in Attitude bar.

While Latitude Margaritaville sounds 100 percent laid back, Buffett himself is clearly driven. In addition to his empire of resort hotels and array of products to sell, Buffett’s first Broadway musical is opening, along with two of a possible chain of active-adult communities this year. And, oh yes, the 71-year-old musician is going on tour with his band.

“To quote a line from a song I wrote with Mac MacAnally, ‘These days I am up about the time I used to go to bed,’” Buffett said in an email. “Well, that could be a little exaggerated, but that is what writers do. I have always been an early riser, and even more so these days.

“A usual daily routine for me is rising around 6 a.m.,” he adds. “I find it the best time to work, be it creative projects or business projects; but it’s one or the other. It’s too distracting to try and skip around. I’ll finish up around 9 a.m. and then get some kind of exercise, preferably outside. It all depends on the weather. Before whatever I do, be it paddling, surfing, swimming, biking or playing tennis, stretching is absolutely a requirement at my age. That gets me to lunch and a nap. After napping seems to be a good time for me to catch up on calls and emails.”

That lifestyle is just what Latitudes buyers hope to replicate — at least the outdoor activity and the napping.

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