By Cecil G. Brumley
It's interesting that the two cities leading the improvement in new home construction are Daytona Beach and Port Orange.
In August, there were 73 new single-family homes permitted in Volusia County, according to the latest Census Bureau report. That's up from 50 in August 2011. Daytona Beach had 19 of those homes and Port Orange had 18. The next closest was DeLand with 10, but that was down from 12 in 2011.
With Daytona Beach, you have name recognition and jobs. The builders leading the rise are mostly national builders, such as D.R. Horton and KB Home, that market nationwide. Daytona Beach has name recognition for retirees. For people seeking jobs, the city has been gaining in manufacturing, healthcare and business services jobs. Port Orange doesn't have that many new jobs, but it has the perception of having the best schools.
One other city that should start growing more over the next few months is DeLand as it has been adding jobs in manufacturing and healthcare. New Smyrna Beach, another place popular with retirees, also is poised to grow. But other cities don't seem to be gaining much traction. The collapse in home prices in Orlando has taken away the main incentive for people to live in Deltona, which only had three new homes in August, and Ormond Beach, with just five new homes, just doesn't seem to have enough to offer for new home buyers.
Volusia home building seems to be continuing on an upward trend, though. That should help reverberate throughout the county's economy and pick up all of Volusia.
Boy was I way off. Last week I mentioned a plan by CBL & Associates to tear down the Ramada Inn Speedway and build two restaurants, guessing Bonefish Grill and Texas Roadhouse, two chains that have been expanding. Well, as it turns out, it will be a Bahama Breeze and Olive Garden. I've never been to a Bahama Breeze, but people who have mentioned to me they have, seem to like it. Olive Garden will be a relocation from across the road. It's kind of funny that Outback Steakhouse is moving from one side of West International Speedway to the other while Olive Garden will be going the other way if the plan goes through.
Parents I warned you before that Chuck E. Cheese is coming to Port Orange. Now I can tell you where you can take your kids in the future or avoid going anywhere near, depending on how you feel about the place. The plans are to build it next to the actual pavilion at The Pavilion at Port Orange, on the other side of it from Malibu Grill.
Stephens Capital has sold the News-Journal property at Sixth Street and Nova Road in Daytona Beach to a group of Arkansas investors for $8.6 million. I have no idea what that means. Stephens Capital and News-Journal owner Halifax Capital have been on a buying spree of newspapers, so maybe they just needed some cash. As a lessee, maybe it will be easier for them to walk away from the property in years to come when Halifax Media shuts the place down. But I'm just guessing.
Commercial real estate has continued its hot run in 2012 recently. An Orlando investor paid $2.365 million for the retail strip at the front of the Orange City Town Center. Intelligent Capital LLC bought the medical building next to Walgreens at Clyde Morris Boulevard and Dunlawton Avenue in Port Orange for $1.6 million. A South Florida investor paid $600,000 for the office/warehouse strip, which houses Prestige Carpet and other businesses, on Nova Road just south of Big Tree Road in South Daytona. A developer has bought land and an old retail building between Atlantic and Grandview avenues, just south of Seabreeze Boulevard, for $379,000. There is a plan to put a chain restaurant there, according to David Konchan, who brokered the deal as an agent with Charles Wayne Properties.
The dollar snatchers also have gotten in on the action with the developer of a Dollar General at Stratford Commons in Deltona for $465,000. Family Dollar Stores has bought land at Derbyshire Road and Mason Avenue in Daytona Beach for $350,000.
With one cinema already closed in Orange City, Victoria Square in DeLand is converting to a dollar cinema. The new Epic Theatres cinema in Deltona apparently is drawing all the crowds.
One last note for you folks who like to get your coffee at a drive-through - Starbucks has opened in front of Lowe's in Port Orange and the 24-hour McDonald's in front of the Walmart Supercenter in New Smyrna Beach also has opened.
Associate Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business news in Volusia County for more than 15 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.