By Cecil G. Brumley
The little things keep adding up to continue the high misery for the Volusia County economy.
For example, CVS Pharmacy closed two stores - one at Holly Hill Plaza (which is actually at Mason Avenue and Nova Road in Daytona Beach) and one at Brandywine Shopping Center in DeLand. The employees were offered jobs at other stores and customers' prescription records were moved, but you can't help but think it will still have a long-term impact.
A bigger loss of jobs probably was with the apparent closing of Gator's B-B-Q and Wings at 1500 W. International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach, and the definite closing of the cinema at the Orange City Marketplace. That also brings up something a little hard to believe. There are now at least three closed restaurant properties along West ISB with Gator's joining Friendly's and Uno's. It looked like that stretch of road was getting a boost with the old restaurant at the corner of Midway Avenue and West ISB becoming an Outback Steakhouse, but I guess not.
The cinema closing comes after Epic Theatres opened one of its state-of-the-art theaters earlier this year nearby in Deltona. Crossman & Co., which manages Orange City Markeplace on Saxon Boulevard, said it already has a possible new operator. So, hopefully it will reopen and you can bet the restaurants on West ISB won't stay vacant for long.
The closures help explain why the number of workers seeking unemployment assistance remains high in Volusia. In August, they were at 1,917, down from 2,269 in August 2011, but to show the economy is really improving, they'll need to drop closer to 1,500 a month.
On the plus side, Christos Mavronas is opening a third Steve's Famous Diner in the closed Holiday House restaurant on North Nova Road in Ormond Beach. Mr. Mavronas also has two restaurants in Daytona Beach. They are named for his father, who started the first on Nova Road in the 1980s.
In one of the biggest real estate deals in a while, Apartment Trust of America acquired the new Andros Isles apartments at Beville Road and Williamson Boulevard and the Overlook Apartments on Seabreeze Boulevard, all in Daytona Beach. No purchase price was given for the Overlook in ATA's news release, but it noted part of the deal included $49 million for Andros Isles.
In one other notable real estate deal, a Virginia investor paid $1.85 million for the 7-Eleven property at LPGA and Williamson boulevards in Daytona Beach. That place must demand some fairly hefty rent.
Some more good news, Sato Japan apparently will keep its Sato Labeling Solutions operation at 930 Jimmy Ann Drive in Daytona Beach where it has more than 20 employees. The company agreed to a new three-year lease for 27,500 square feet of space in the industrial facility. The lease was negotiated by Chris Butera of NAI Realvest and Ron Frederick and Buddy Budiansky of Prudential Commercial Real Estate FL.
Apparently the increasing traffic at Daytona Beach International Airport means nothing to Delta Air Lines, which dropped one of its five flights there. Traffic had been up nearly every month this year, but possibly not in September when there will be only four Delta flights and three US Airways flights.
Sparton Corp. is looking much better financially these days. For its quarter ended June 30, the Illinois-based company reported revenue of $61.3 million, up from $60.9 million in the same quarter of 2011. Net income was $4.1 million compared to a lost of $700,000 last year. Much of the increase was because of sonobuoy production in DeLeon Springs, the company reported.
Destination Daytona, which didn't have much in the way of big chain franchises, other than Harley-Davidson, now has another one. The Destination Daytona Inn now flies the Howard Johnson flag. There were only two other HoJos in the area, one on the beachside in Omond Beach and one at the Interstate 4 interchange at DeLand.
Another big project that probably won't be done anytime soon has popped up. A developer has proposed the Ocean Gate Commerce Center for the southwest quadrant of Interstate 95 and State Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach. If the proposed rezoning is approved for the 188-acre site, it would have 975,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space.
Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business in Volusia County for more than 15 years. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.