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Deltona Village commercial center planned

Just a suggestion — This sign suggests that a part of the planned Deltona Village that lies just north of Epic Theatres in Deltona would be ideal for senior housing. Other similar real estate signs in the neighborhood suggest sites in Deltona Village could be used for automobile dealerships, offices and retail stores.  

Just a suggestion — This sign suggests that a part of the planned Deltona Village that lies just north of Epic Theatres in Deltona would be ideal for senior housing. Other similar real estate signs in the neighborhood suggest sites in Deltona Village could be used for automobile dealerships, offices and retail stores.  

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

You’re building what?!? — A donkey is at home now on land destined to become a mixed-use development of commercial and residential features to be known as Deltona Village. North Normandy Boulevard runs through the parcel, which lies largely in front of Deltona’s Epic Theatres.

You’re building what?!? — A donkey is at home now on land destined to become a mixed-use development of commercial and residential features to be known as Deltona Village. North Normandy Boulevard runs through the parcel, which lies largely in front of Deltona’s Epic Theatres.

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

This map shows the location of Deltona Village relative to several health-related developments that have been proposed or built recently nearby. 

This map shows the location of Deltona Village relative to several health-related developments that have been proposed or built recently nearby. Right-click and select Open in New Tab to enlarge.

MAP DATA ©2018 GOOGLE, ANNOTATED BY BEACON STAFF

A REAL DOWNTOWN FOR DELTONA — West Volusia businessman Frank DeMarsh owns land surrounding his Epic Theatres in Deltona, and he hopes to see the undeveloped parcels transformed into Deltona Village, a bustling commercial center. DeMarsh has hired an Ohio firm to market the 150 acres north and west of his Deltona cinema to investors. A plan for the development is seen here.

A REAL DOWNTOWN FOR DELTONA — West Volusia businessman Frank DeMarsh owns land surrounding his Epic Theatres in Deltona, and he hopes to see the undeveloped parcels transformed into Deltona Village, a bustling commercial center. DeMarsh has hired an Ohio firm to market the 150 acres north and west of his Deltona cinema to investors. A plan for the development is seen here. Right-click and select Open in New Tab to enlarge.

GRAPHIC COURTESY FRANK DeMARSH

More than a decade after a bold plan surfaced to build a city center on Deltona’s north side, the vision is reappearing.

The proposal for a mixed-use development known as Deltona Village — complete with retail centers, restaurants, office buildings, light industry and apartments — is back on the table. 

Deltona Village covers about 150 acres on the east and southeast sides of the interchange of Interstate 4 and State Road 472. It stretches along both sides of North Normandy Boulevard and along Graves Avenue.  

Epic Theatres President Frank DeMarsh owns the Deltona Village acreage. Now surrounded by pasture and meadows where cattle graze, Epic Theatres is an anchor of the Deltona Village concept that DeMarsh first proposed in 2006.

The recession that began in 2008 shelved the proposal, but a recovering economy is spurring renewed interest.

Development could begin as early as this spring, according to a senior marketing leader.

“I think you’re going to see dirt being turned in the second quarter,” said Bob Matias, vice president of Equity Inc. “We think it’s a three- to five-year completion. Easily five years.”

Equity Inc., headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is spearheading the effort to attract developers and investors.

“We started marketing this project in mid-August,” Matias said.

The marketing is already paying off, he added.

“We have multiple retailers in tow. Until these close, we don’t reveal anything,” Matias said.

Deltona Village may provide almost 1 million square feet of space for shopping, restaurants and offices. 

Equity Inc. Senior Vice President Nathan Palmer said his firm is proposing “an initial power center [with] about 300,000” square feet.

Matias all but ruled out the notion of building an enclosed shopping mall, in light of changes in consumer-buying trends.

“Retail is certainly affected by e-commerce,” he said, agreeing with analysts who say many traditional brick-and-mortar stores are losing consumer-market share. 

“The country is pretty well saturated with malls,” Palmer noted.

As well as commercial development that may mesh well with city leaders’ intentions to make Howland Boulevard a gateway corridor of Deltona, Matias spoke of possible office buildings, along with light industries. 

“I think the land for that could be on the west side of Normandy Boulevard,” he said.

An upswing in the general economy, the increasing influx of people to Florida, and the location, location, location of the property at a key crossroads are all assets that will help sell Deltona Village, Matias said, along with one other factor.

“Another catalyst has been all the hospital activity there,” he said. “All that is very good for everything we’re trying to do.”

The emerging Halifax Health Hospital campus is nearby, and Central Florida Regional Hospital intends to build its own free-standing emergency department in the triangle where Graves Avenue merges into Howland Boulevard.

The plans call for meeting an increasing demand for urban living space.

“Apartments are what’s really trending in the Florida market,” Matias said.

Matias and Palmer said they know about DeLand Chrysler dealer Brendan Hurley’s proposal to build an Automall on the west side of the interchange at Orange Camp Road and Interstate 4, but Matias expressed interest in having new-car dealerships in Deltona Village.

“We’d love to talk to them,” Matias concluded.

Deltona Village is within Deltona’s portion of the old Southwest Activity Center, a joint planning venture of county government and the cities of DeLand and Deltona, which was intended to create a Heathrow-like economic-development showcase with attractive office parks, hotels and shopping. 

The Activity Center, which encompassed some 1,800 acres, languished with no discernible development, and Deltona withdrew from the inter-local partnership in 2010 and began its own efforts to market the vacant tracts within its zone.

Opened in 2011, Epic Theatres’ 12-screen cinema was, in fact, the first-ever development on any of the Activity Center property. It is worth noting that the only development within the old Activity Center has occurred, and is now occurring, within the Deltona sector.

— Al Everson, al@beacononlinenews.com

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