Volusia County’s hospitality industry was still in the dumps in December, according to the latest bed tax collections data.

Collections were down 20.53% from December 2019, according and probably weren’t much better in January.

But as hope springs eternal, at least one new hotel plan is moving forward. A permit was issued to tear down the old shopping center on the river on Third Avenue in New Smyrna Beach to clear the way for a Hyatt Place hotel.

In other hotel news, the Extended Stay America motel in Ormond Beach is nearing completion and work continues on the former La Playa beachfront resort that will become a combination Ascend by Choice and Comfort Suites, two Choice Hotel brands in one.

We’ll see hotel construction pick up on the next couple of months as developers watch the vaccine numbers. As of this writing, more than 50 million Americans had received at least one dose and vaccinations are now up to about 10 million a week, according to the CDC. Suddenly the possibility of most of the nation getting vaccinated by the fall is looking like a reality.

The all-out effort to vaccinate folks has slowed one other plan, though. The plan to demolish and rebuild the Publix at 1500 Beville Road in Daytona Beach has been put off indefinitely, according to a well-informed source. All right, it was my wife. It’s her favorite grocery store, where she reported there were six people in line to get shots the last time she was there.

While the hotels and motels will continue to have to follow strict guidelines on cleaning and safety, they should start to see their numbers climb.

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An update on the former ARK building that I mentioned was acquired recently. The buyer, Scott Milestone, bought it as an investment. “I just think it’s a good building,” Mr. Milestone said in a phone interview. “Thought it would make a notable and worthy purchase.”

Of course, he also noted it is right in the middle of one of fastest developing areas of Volusia County if not all of Florida. On Mason Avenue, west of Williamson Boulevard, it’s just south of the Tomoka Town Center and next to the Trader Joe’s distribution center and the Amazon “last mile” center.

He is looking to lease the property and has interest from Featherlite Trailers and BC Racing of Oviedo, but nothing is definite so if you want some space in a great location, contact Dick McNerney at Adams Cameron or just call Mr. Milestone at (301) 350-0000.

He has been a real estate investor in the Maryland/Delaware area for years, but definitely likes this area since he also likes classic cars and hot rods, and owns several. He has already bought a house in Daytona Beach Shores and plans to spend a lot of time in the area.

***

In other real estate investment news, Riviera Beach investors bought the strip center at 1210 N. Nova Road, near Sixth Street, in Daytona Beach for $2.35 million. Daytona Toyota owner Gilbert "Gib" Dannehower bought the Autozone property at 235 N. Nova Road from Berrien Becks Jr. and John Schnebly Jr. for $1.95 million.

***

A couple more updates: Circle K, which I reported had bought land adjacent to its store in Barberville, has submitted plans for rebuilding it. With its State Road 40 and U.S. 17 location, it’s a great spot for one of the Canadian retailers larger, 5,200-square-foot stores with more gas pumps. For an example, look at the stores on Nova Road in Port Orange at Herbert Street and Spruce Creek Road.

Central Florida KFC has started site work on the land it bought at Williamson Crossing and it looks like they may be building one of those combo KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut places or some combination of the Yum Brands fast-food joints.

***

On a final note, here are some miscellaneous items.

Speaking of location, a new shop, Surf Style of Ormond-by-the-Sea, is planned at Ocean Shore and Riverbreeze boulevards, right across from the new Latitude Margaritaville Beach Club.

 A plan has been submitted to the City of Port Orange for a two-story multi-tenant commercial building and self-storage facility on vacant property on the south side of Dunlawton Avenue, between Spruce Creek Road and the Florida Health Care building. It may have access from Spruce Creek Road.

The unique Florida Days development off Turnbull Bay Road in New Smyrna Beach is adding 31 lots in phase 4 and 8 half-acre lots in phase 5 for its old Florida style houses.

With residential construction at Parc Hill in Orange City moving fast, next up is roadway improvements for Veterans Memorial Parkway and construction of a 71,000-square-foot assisted living facility.

Signs are going up for Big Tuna Beach Bar & Grill in the former Ruby Tuesday’s at 2695 N. Atlantic Ave. in Daytona Beach.

Next up at LPGA International will be Legends Preserve with 264 lots and Links Terrace with 199 lots, both off International Golf Drive in Daytona Beach.

Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business and the economy in Volusia County for more than 24 years. Contact him at cbrumley@hometownnewsmediagroup.com (no hyphens) or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.

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