The hospitality industry came back in a big way in March, not only far surpassing last year, but also above March 2019.
Bed tax collections were up 70.55% from March 2020 in Volusia County and up 9.4% from March 2019, according to the county's revenue division.
Bike Week and early spring breakers obviously helped with the big jump, but apparently people were just ready to hit the beach after a long pandemic winter.
Judging by passenger traffic at Daytona Beach International Airport, the recovery in the hospitality industry probably continued in April. Passenger traffic at Daytona Beach International Airport was at 50,042 in April compared to 4,338 in April 2020. However, air traffic isn't totally back since it was averaged more than 60,000 a month in 2019.
Still, it is heartening to see one of Volusia's key industries start to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic as we feel through the fog for normalcy.
Commercial real estate has picked up some. Some of the recent significant deals include Sanford investors buying the Fairway Apartments on Virginia Avenue in Daytona Beach for $6.84 million. Lutz-based Preferred Materials Inc. bought a concrete block plant in Parktowne Industrial Park at Edgewater for $2.5 million. Preferred Materials then sold its industrial property in DeBary to Extreme Concrete Services for $537,476.
Starlight Homes bought vacant land along North Woodland Boulevard in DeLand for $2.3 million. Tarpon Springs-based Astro Skating Center bought Skate & Shake at 250 N. U.S. 1 in Ormond Beach, for $1.8 million. Donovan Realty LLC bought vacant land on U.S. 1 on south end of Edgewater for $1.5 million. Thomas Leigh Acquisition Corp of Flagler Beach bought the former New-Journal property on Orange Avenue in Daytona Beach from Community Legal Services for $950,000. The three-story building is being renovated.
A couple of noteworthy redevelopment projects started construction, including the large Conviva Care health clinic at Port Orange Plaza at Dunlawton and Ridgewood in Port Orange. Also, Construction is starting on the Crabby's restaurant at 203 S. Atlantic Ave. in New Smyrna Beach.
Some new plans hit the drawing board, including an amusement center at Ocean Avenue and Harvey Street in Daytona Beach that could include a Ferris wheel. Plans also are in the works to put a car wash at Automall Circle and LPGA Boulevard (next to Holiday Inn) in Daytona Beach. Plans are moving forward for a 200-lot addition, Links Terrace, to LPGA International along Champions Drive in Daytona Beach.
A small condo complex planned on West Canal Street, just east of Milford Place in New Smyrna Beach and a 10-lot residential development, Faith Grove, is planned along Lake Olivia in Lake Helen.
On a final note, ABB Installation Products Division (formerly Thomas & Betts) is making a multimillion-dollar investment this year and filling more than 25 full-time positions to expand production in Ormond Beach. The move will help the business meet growing demand for electrical equipment.
Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 24 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org (no hyphens) or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.