Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or too busy watching old Geico ads, you may have noticed there are a lot of new houses going up in Volusia County.

Through November, U.S. Census Bureau reports show permits have been issued for 2,045 houses and 334 apartments, either rental or condos, compared to 1,721 houses and 60 apartments through the first 11 months of 2017.

A Volusia County Division of Economic Development report, which is a little more complete than the Census report, shows there were permits issued for 2,055 housing units through October compared to 1,550 in the first three quarters of 2017.

Either way, it shows new residential construction is growing, but it really isn’t that much compared to a lot of other areas. Even the St. Lucie area, which only has a few degrees on the temperature gauge on the Volusia area, not much else, has more houses going up.

So, it was a bit disturbing when Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. announced Minto Communities was backing out of its contract to buy an additional 1,614 acres of land for $26.5 million, which would have doubled the size of Latitude Margaritaville.

A Minto official told a competing news agency that the county and cities going up on impact fees would make Latitude Margaritaville’s houses more pricey than what they thought they could sell. Granted, it's a dicey situation spending $26.5 million on something that you’re not going to start getting your money back for five years, the amount of time estimated they would start building there. But there’s something else going on that’s a bit disturbing.

The 55-plus community with the Jimmy Buffet theme already gets a pass on school impact fees from one of the usual ridiculous moves by the Florida Legislature. Apparently they think when you attract thousands of retirees to an area, it won’t create the need for jobs that will have to be filled with people who do have children.

But now Minto is saying they can’t afford higher impact fees for roads, utilities, recreation and other costs. I would hate to think the folks at Minto are showing they don’t know how to be neighborly and help pay increased costs they’re causing, but, hey, if the flip flop fits.

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Commercial real estate has really slowed down recently. The only big deal to report is Ohio-based KRI Properties has acquired apartment buildings, coincidentally at Ohio Avenue and Smith Street in Orange City for $4.95 million.

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Watching the signs, it looks like a whole bunch of new stuff is about to open. Signs are going up at Dave & Busters at Tomoka Town Center in Daytona Beach. Signs also are going up for Miami Grill at OneDaytona.

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On a final note, vertical construction should be underway on the Aldi on West Granada Boulevard in Ormond Beach, which eventually will give the city another grocery shopping alternative. For anyone keeping count, it will be the fourth in East Volusia County. None yet in West Volusia.

Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 22 years. Contact him at cbrumley@hometownnewsol.com (no hyphen) or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.

(1) comment

PITA

[thumbdown] Bad decision by Volusia County. They should be incentivizing builders to come in. MInto is already paying for Timber Creek Road which, if MInto had expanded, would have connect LPGA and State 40, providing secondary access alleviating traffic. The county will not also lose out on Millions of Property Taxes that would have come in from over 3,400 homes. The county and city both also lose out on business sales, jobs, and sales taxes that would have been generated by 6,000+ more residents shopping in their local area. More jobs would have been created as well. All because the county got greedy and could only look at the short term, not the future.. Shame on them for this huge loss.

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