By Kelli Jo Hull
The Daytona Beach Shores City Council gave initial approval July 8 to a 15-year development agreement that requires the owners of the dilapidated Treasure Island to bring the structure to a concrete shell, making the property less of a public safety hazard and eyesore.
Treasure Island became vacant after substantial hurricane damage in 2004. Foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings followed, with ownership ultimately transferred to RAIT Financial Trust in 2012.
Since then, the hotel has been the subject of scrutiny as city leaders have worked with RAIT representatives in an effort to improve safety and the appearance of the structure, which towers over Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach Shores' main thoroughfare.
RAIT originally wanted a 30-year development agreement and the city wanted five years, said City Manager Michael Booker in a telephone interview after the council meeting. The 15-year term was a compromise, "but nobody thinks it will take that long. The economy is turning around and I think they have some promising potential partners lined up," Mr. Booker said.
The development agreement also requires the property to be kept "graffiti-free" and in a "secure fashion" along with annual building inspections to verify structural integrity. The inspections will be conducted with the property owner's engineers as well as with members of the city's Building Department, Mr. Booker said.
RAIT also owns the adjacent property that formerly housed Sunny Shores Resort, which has been demolished. The development agreement includes a provision that allows both properties to "additional density entitlements" allowing for redevelopment that mimics what was there before in regard to building height, parking capacity and set backs to the water line. It is unclear if RAIT will develop both properties together.
If the development agreement gets final approval from the City Council, RAIT will have 60 days to bring the structure to a concrete shell, eliminating all parts of the building that pose safety hazards.
Two settlement agreements with RAIT are also in the works in which the city will forgive unpaid fines for code violations the property has acquired and will give the property vested right protection from retroactive regulation. Both agreements are contingent upon RAIT fulfilling obligations of the development agreement and will take effect when they have done so.
Terms of the vested right agreement require RAIT to obtain a building permit for more than 50 percent of the development within 7 years, as well as a certificate of occupancy for more than 50 percent of the development within 10 years.
Mr. Booker cited RAIT's ongoing positive response to all of the city's requests as the reason for brokering the agreements. "They are making a concentrated effort to partner with the city," he said.
The three agreements should come before the City Council for final approval on Aug. 12.