Now that the special events season has slowed down and the peak construction period is upon us, let's take a look at just what types of construction we're seeing in Volusia County.
So far in 2014, residential construction is way out front. With 161 permits issued for single-family houses in January, compared to 57 in January 2013, home building is going strong and should have been about the same in February.
But commercial construction is starting to get more abundant. The rebuilding of the grandstands at Daytona International Speedway still remains the biggest project, but there are a lot of small ones. The rebuilding of the Publix in Daytona Beach Shores is probably the biggest followed by the two-story medical building for Florida Hospital at Interstate 95 and State Road 44.
Building continues on the O'Reilly's Auto Parts building in Port Orange and a permit was issued last week to demolish the old restaurant building near the intersection of Nova Road and West International Speedway Boulevard to make room to build one in Daytona Beach.
Two hotel rebuilds continue along the beach with the Residence Inn by Marriott nearing completion in Daytona Beach Shores. Premier Resorts & Management has started developing a Hilton Garden Inn on the beach at Bellair. The Daytona Beach company also filed a notice that it's starting construction on a Hampton Inn on North Woodland Boulevard in DeLand across the road from Walmart.
Still nothing definite on when building the two big beachfront resorts will start. Bayshore Capital has been busy preselling the condo units that will be in the Hard Rock Hotel & Café. Protogroup's project, which now includes a parking building on the west side of Atlantic Avenue, is so complicated the design phase will continue for a while. There's still a chance both of them will start work this year, though.
From Daytona to Deltona, there's a lot of convenience store construction going on, especially by RaceTrac and Sunoco. Another dollar store is going up on North Atlantic in Daytona Beach and just when we might have thought that would be the last one, Dollar General now wants to put a store at 825 West ISB.
So, for 2014, construction should continue to help push the economy forward and create more jobs. The January report was slated to come out as we were going to press, but I'm expecting it to show more growth in building jobs.
I guess I'm going to have to give up on my wild guesses. I was a ways off on the next Publix to get torn down and rebuilt, and didn't research it enough. But there's no way you could have seen Trader Joe's coming as the company that wants to put a big distribution center in Daytona Beach. The closest store is in Gainesville, although two are under construction in the Orlando area. It's not a lock yet, but it's looking pretty definite. So if it happens, you'd think they would put a store in our area. I'll leave the guesswork on where that might go to others.
Thanks to the long, harsh winter up north, the hospitality business has been doing well in Volusia. Bed tax collections were up a whopping 12 percent in January. Even West Volusia, which has lagged in the past, has shown some strong growth. Unfortunately the harsh weather finally hit traffic at Daytona Beach International Airport. All the flight cancellations pushed use of the county-operated airport down 3 percent in February from February 2013.
Commercial real estate has done well in the first quarter of 2014, so far, especially with Sabal Financial Group of Newport Beach, Calif., spending a whopping $18.8 million on The Trail shopping center. An Australian firm bought the building housing Ace Hardware and Halifax Hospice at 720 S. Dixie Freeway in New Smyrna Beach for $1.55 million. First Green Bank bought the building it occupies at 175 W. Granada Blvd. in Ormond Beach for $1.05 million.
On a final note, even though the latest news on drug stores was Walgreen Co. shutting down the store at Beville Road and Ridgewood Avenue in Daytona Beach, plans have resurfaced for a new store at LPGA and Williamson boulevards in Daytona Beach.
Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 17 years. Contact him as firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.