Slightly more than a year ago a wrote a column with the headline, “It would be a happy day if it happens.”
It's happening and it will definitely be a happy day for Deltona and Volusia County officials and workers.
Amazon is hiring for its fulfillment center with plans to create more than 500 full-time jobs. Job postings are currently online at amazondelivers.jobs and hiring should be beginning about now.
“This is a textbook example of how collaboration among community resources can result in such a major project riding a fast track from site selection to grand opening,” said Keith Norden, president and CEO of Team Volusia Economic Development Corp., in the news release.
Mr. Norden’s organization made initial contact with Amazon in 2013, illustrating the long period of time required for some economic development projects to come to fruition, according to a news release. When dialogue evolved from casual conversations to a potential project, Team Volusia played a lead role collaborating with partner organizations while helping close the deal. These included the City of Deltona; CareerSource/Flagler Volusia; Volusia County Government; Duke Energy, chambers of commerce and others. Once talks got specific, everything seemed to move at warp speed.
“Partners change, markets change, the economy changes, but in Volusia County we are agile and we respond quickly to conditions,” said Dr. Charles Duva, founder of Emergency Medical Professionals and DuvaSawko Co. “Pivoting can mean changing the lineup and bringing in additional partners in response to rapidly changing dynamics.”
“This not only makes this a great project for Deltona, but is high impact for all of Volusia County,” said Robin King, president and CEO of CareerSource/Flagler Volusia.
Helga van Eckert, economic development director for Volusia County Government concurred with King, adding the hiring campaign will encourage other investors to consider Volusia as a site for relocation or expansion. She noted this opportunity is especially important given the spike in unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Already, interest among other companies is becoming apparent.
“We are seeing an increase in inquiries about Portland Industrial Park, which still has more than 100 acres available, over and above the 102 acres sold to Amazon.com for its Deltona fulfillment center, said Jerry Mayes, Deltona economic development director.
Commercial Realtor John Wannamaker agreed and said that this project helps minimize the imaginary boundary to commercial development that is Interstate 4. “No longer are such projects landing exclusively in Sanford and Lake Mary,” he said. “Suddenly there is interest in commercial property and industrial parks in west Volusia County.”
Amazon already has a “last-mile” delivery facility in east Volusia County, a 66,000 square foot distribution center in Daytona Beach.
I noted in my Aug. 15, 2019, column, the first public mention of the distribution center, that it’s the type of project local leaders envisioned years ago with the establishment of the Deltona Activity Center.
At the time time, I only knew the Normandy Project would have a 1 million-square-foot distribution warehouse and 30,000-square-feet of office space along Normandy Boulevard, just south of the Interstate 4/State Road 472 exit.
Now we know exactly what's happening on this happy day.
Something I've been expecting for a long time is now official. Daytona Beach-based CTO Realty Growth Inc. announced its board of directors has unanimously approved a plan for the company to become a real estate investment trust (REIT) for U.S. federal income tax purposes commencing with its taxable year ending Dec. 31. Even before the name change, Consolidated-Tomoka had been moving in the REIT direction, positioning itself as a holder of assets that produce continuous revenue and not relying on land sales.
On a final note, a few miscellaneous items include Brown & Brown Inc. of Daytona Beach getting into the roadside assistance businesses, buying Vehicle Administrative Services and its SafeRide Motor Club of Addison, Texas. Aldi is adding a store on South WoodLand Boulevard in the West Volusia Regional Shopping Center, it's second in DeLand. A convenience store, gas station and car wash planned for 3174 Howland Blvd. (next to Deltona High School) in Deltona.
Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 22 years. Contact him at email@example.com (no hyphens) or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.