By Patrick McCallister
For Hometown News
DELAND - Downtown's proposed newest neighbor will be before the city commission on Monday, Nov. 19.
The commission will give its first consideration to a proposed plan with the White Challis Redevelopment Co. of Daytona Beach for a mixed-use development to replace a city parking lot. In a potential deal struck last year, the company will get that land in exchange for developing it into retail and residential spaces. The property is a two-acre site bounded by Woodland Boulevard, Church Street and Rich Avenue.
"It's an urban redevelopment project geared to bring 30 residential units to downtown," Jack White, co-owner, said.
The public will have a chance to comment on the proposed development at the meeting.
In addition to townhouses, the project would add 5,000 square feet of retail space to downtown, and possibly some offices. The city will lose 107 parking spaces, but under current proposals the company will be required to have 90 open to the public behind its development.
"It's definitely a new turn for the downtown - adding residential," Mr. White said. "It has everything, but (residential)."
White Challis asked the city to turn the parking lot into a brownfield redevelopment site, too. That moved the city to create brownfield areas around the city in May.
In 1997,the state Legislature gave cities the option to designate brownfield areas, which are abandoned, idle or underdeveloped commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment could be hampered by environmental contamination, or the perception of it. Businesses in brownfield areas can get tax credits and last-resort loan guarantees from the state.
"When you start to dig, you find things you weren't expecting," Mr. White said in a previous interview. "Having (brownfield area designation) there gives you latitude to adjust to what you're doing."
Mr. White said if the city and White Challis come to an agreement soon, construction still wouldn't start for about another year. Once it begins, the redevelopment company, which has projects in Daytona Beach and other Florida cities, will have five years to complete it.
The project should cost $6 million to $7 million, but must be occupied immediately, Mr. White said. The market for it must be there before construction can begin.
Previously he estimated the Brownfield designation could reduce the development costs by about $50,000 to $100,000.
White Challis Redevelopment is a for-profit company specializing in projects for which cities provide incentives.