Morgan Stanley holds grand opening

OFFICIALLY OPEN — DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar and Resident Manager David Welsh (wielding scissors) are surrounded by Morgan Stanley employees and members of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce during a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony at Morgan Stanley’s new office on South Woodland Boulevard.

OFFICIALLY OPEN — DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar and Resident Manager David Welsh (wielding scissors) are surrounded by Morgan Stanley employees and members of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce during a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony at Morgan Stanley’s new office on South Woodland Boulevard.

DAVID WELSH

DAVID WELSH

The first tenant in a long-vacant historic building in Downtown DeLand formally greeted the public recently, some six months after moving into the ground floor at 142 S. Woodland Blvd.

Wealth-management firm Morgan Stanley held a ribbon-cutting and grand-opening ceremony June 28 with DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar, members of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce and some of the firm’s clientele in attendance. Last December, Morgan Stanley moved into the building that started out in 1925 as a Masonic Temple on the northwest corner of South Woodland Boulevard and West Howry Avenue.

Morgan Stanley moved to the new location from an office about five blocks north, at 231 N. Woodland Blvd., that it had occupied for many years.

“We’ve been happy with the move to the new space on the edge of Downtown instead of the middle of Downtown,” said David Welsh, a first vice president and the resident manager of the office. “It’s a great facility. We’re glad we’re continuing a longtime presence in DeLand.”

The new office actually has less square-footage, Welsh added, but it’s more efficiently designed than the previous site. There are 10 offices with windows to the central entry area; seven financial advisers on staff have their own work spaces, and an analyst who visits regularly is assigned another office. Two work spaces are available for future hires, Welsh said.

“Strategically, we’re always looking to grow,” he said.

The office also has four administrative workstations in the entry area, as well as a conference room with a flat-screen TV tuned to a financial station.

The second and third floors of the building are still empty shells, but are destined to become high-end condominiums.

Trey Vick is the president of the Maitland-based developer, Equinox Development Properties, that bought the former Masonic Temple in late December 2015. Although the building had housed several businesses over the years, it had been vacant since earlier that year.

In August 2016, Vick unveiled plans for Southland Lofts, five upscale condominiums ranging from 1,000 to 1,900 square feet that would occupy the upper floors of the three-story building. Three units were planned for the second floor and two larger units for the top floor, Vick told The Beacon at the time.

But he said in a telephone interview this week that those plans are on hold.

“We’re negotiating with a buyer for the entire top floor,” Vick said. “We hope to close in 30 to 60 days, and the buyer would do his own interior build-out.”

If the sale closes and the buyer starts construction, Vick said, Equinox could also start building out the second-floor units at the same time — unless buyers come forward for those units, too.

“That allows someone to take a very unique space and make it their own,” he said. “Reggie Santilli is our broker, and she’s showing the space two or three times a week.”

Vick said the entire second floor could be sold to another buyer, but if it isn’t, Equinox is prepared to begin construction when the third-floor construction starts.

“People want to live on the Best Main Street in America,” he said. “We’re just trying to get the right people.”

— Joe Crews, joe@beacononlinenews.com

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