110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Al Everson
posted May 3, 2012 - 8:46:02pm
Long known as a bedroom community for the Orlando area, Volusia County’s biggest city is finally showing signs of developing a commercial sector.
A long and deep recession may be ending, at least in Deltona, where years of talking about economic development are gradually giving way to a steady influx and growth of retail stores and service businesses.
The change has City Hall’s active support, and the first quarter of 2012 has been especially active.
“I’m looking at nine businesses,” Deltona economic-development czar Jerry Mayes said.
Mayes and other city officials are stepping up efforts to build a viable commercial foundation in the city, which has a reputation as a center for retirement and affordable housing. Deltona wants the tax-base stability businesses provide.
These two pending projects are in the Deltona Activity Center, a 900-acre zone at the interchange of Interstate 4 and State Road 472 that is part of the long-planned Southwest Activity Center.
Much of the Deltona Activity Center is already zoned BPUD, or Business Planned Unit Development. The premier development in the Activity Center is Epic Theatres, along North Normandy Boulevard and west of Deltona High School.
Mayes said there are even more prospects for business openings, but he could not give details.
“There are others that are out there that I can’t talk about because of confidentiality,” he said.
Since the first of the year, Mayes related, Deltona has logged the openings of several businesses:
• Duvall Home Thrift Shop in Deltona Plaza, 1200 Deltona Blvd.;
• Family Dollar, 951 Doyle Road;
• The medical office of Dr. Annabel Torres, M.D., 915 Doyle Road, Suite 306;
• A second location for Scorpio’s Pizza, Howland and Elkcam boulevards;
• Save-A-Lot Supermarket, 1382 Howland Blvd.;
• Dollar Tree, 2135 Howland Blvd.;
• Flooring and Beyond, 1200 Providence Blvd.; and
• Expert Car Care (second location), 1884 Elkcam Blvd.
The recruitment of these and other businesses is bringing new employment opportunities to Deltonans, many of whom must travel out of the city to work.
“I would say, net for 2011, we created 75 new jobs; and, for this year, we’ve already added 75,” Mayes said.
The activity is a welcome change in a city top-heavy with homes and inhabited by people who often go to Orange City and/or Sanford to shop.
Information compiled by the Volusia County Property Appraiser’s Office shows less than 8 percent of Deltona’s tax base — which totaled $1.5 billion last year — is commercial property. Eighty-five percent of the city’s tax roll is residential.
By contrast, 22 percent of DeLand’s tax base is commercial, and almost 29 percent of Daytona Beach’s tax base is commercial.
For Volusia County as a whole, about 72 percent of the tax base is residential and 14 percent is commercial.
The remaining properties are classified as agricultural, industrial or institutional.
While Team Volusia has come under criticism for allegedly failing to yield results, Mayes credits the agency — a public-private partnership formed to attract new companies and to encourage the expansion of existing local firms — with helping Deltona.
“I’ve received several leads. I’ve received solicitations. They’ve put together packages for me. They’re very helpful to us in West Volusia,” Mayes said. “Team Volusia invited me to go with them to the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Orlando. I came away from there with six or eight leads. Dunkin’ Donuts was one of them. RaceTrac was one of them.”
Mayes came to work for the City of Deltona last year.
As the pace of the economic recovery quickens, Mayes predicts Deltona will add more businesses and mature as a normal city with commercial hubs.
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