The area has gotten a new shopping center operator, one with a lot of experience with retailers that don’t have stores in Volusia County

ShopOne Centers, which owns 49 retail centers, has bought The Trails Shopping Center, the 135,286-square-foot center at the east entrance to The Trails neighborhood in Ormond Beach, for $21.9 million.

Jaffe Corp. was in the midst of turning the center into a Mediterranean-themed shopping destination and adding several top line retailers when the Great Recession hit, eventually losing the center.

It has a 36,866-square-foot Publix grocery store as well as Talbot’s, Chico’s, LOFT, Dairy Queen, Anytime Fitness, White House-Black Market, Jos A Bank, BurgerIM, Sale and Pepe, Pacific Bistro and Supercuts. It took a hit last year, losing Panera Bread, but is still one of the best retail centers in Volusia County.

“Our acquisition of The Trails shopping center advances ShopOne’s core strategy of acquiring and operating high-caliber shopping centers in markets with strong fundamentals,” Michael Carroll, ShopOne CEO said in a news release. “The Trails presented us with a fantastic opportunity to expand our footprint to a densely populated and growing Florida market. In addition, we have several value add improvements planned which will serve to solidify The Trails position as the top shopping and dining destination in the market.”

What got me excited, though, is ShopOne has lot of experience with Kroger. The supermarket chain only has one store in Florida, which is actually a Harris Teeter, but it has a lot of stores in Georgia and you just can't help but wonder if it doesn't have its eyes on expanding to Florida, a thought that came to mind as I watched the banner ads for Kroger on the Coke Zero 400 Saturday night. Even though it has no stores here, it has long been a major NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. sponsor.

Who knows, ShopOne might be considering swapping the Publix at The Trails for a Kroger. A blasphemous statement for Floridians, but stranger things have happened. For example, the Trader Joe's distribution center in an area where it has no stores.

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Daytona Beach International Airport keeps plugging along. Passenger traffic at the county-owned and operated airport increased 1.7 percent for May in comparison with May 2017. During the month, 68,418 passengers flew in or out of the airport, compared to 67,272 passengers last May. The increasing use of the airport caught the eye of one of its carriers with Delta going up to six flights, six days a week. Hope springs eternal that we'll get a direct flight to another city besides Atlanta, Charlotte and New York.

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There already are a lot of apartments in development or under construction across Volusia County, but you can add two more complexes. A developer is talking to the City of Daytona Beach about putting an apartment complex with about 200 units on west side of Williamson Boulevard, just north of LPGA Blvd. in Daytona Beach. Plans have been submitted to the St. Johns River Water Management District for the Beacon Apartments, a 253-unit complex at State Road 44 and Glencoe Road in New Smyrna Beach. I haven't seen any occupancy numbers lately, but apartments had been fairly packed and rents going up sharply, so the more apartments, the better as far as slowing down the rent escalation.

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The southwest quadrant of State Road 44 and Interstate 95 could get more development. With plans for a RaceTrac store already in the works, a Holiday Inn Express and Florida Roadhouse have now been planned on the Snowden property across S.R. 44 from the Walmart Supercenter at New Smyrna Beach.

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A historic downtown Daytona Beach building has been acquired, hopefully helping to keep it intact. Health Insurance Associates LLC of Daytona Beach has bought the old Masonic Lodge building at 135 Orange Ave. for $299,000.

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On a final note, while a deal was struck for the I4 Auto Mall, the commercial center at Victoria Park keeps growing. Construction is starting on four more buildings at the center along Orange Camp Road.

Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 21 years. Contact him at cbrumley@hometownnewsol.com (no hyphens) or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.

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