110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Funding issues delay White Challis retail/townhome project in Downtown DeLand
By Joe Crews
posted Feb 25, 2014 - 1:45:40pm
After getting initial approval from the city last year, a retail-and-townhome development on the north side of Downtown DeLand hasn’t shown any visible progress.
But developer Jack White of White Challis Redevelopment Co. in Daytona Beach said there has been some headway on the sales front.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from buyers, with, I think, 11 of 14 lofts reserved,” White said. “The big challenge has been on the financing side, unlike our project in Daytona Beach that is moving more quickly.”
The DeLand project is called Woodland Block. It includes Woodland Lofts, 14 condominium-loft units averaging 1,000 square feet each; and, along East Church Street, The Millworks, eight attached, industrial-style town houses. Also, fronting East Rich Avenue will be the Rich Park Brownstones, featuring eight Classical-style town houses.
The project also calls for nearly 4,000 square feet of retail space, but more is possible, said DeLand Senior Planner Belinda Williams-Collins.
“A number of the residential units can be used as live-work units,” Williams-Collins said. “The development will include parking for each of the units, as well as 90 spaces for public parking and a stormwater retention system.”
In addition, a historic tree on the site will be preserved, Williams-Collins wrote, “for aesthetic reasons and as a means to help boost the property value!”
The city declared the 1.86-acre site a brownfield in May 2012. Later that year, White Challis was chosen to redevelop the property and entered into an agreement with the city that called for submittal of a preliminary plat and site plan by March 2014, Williams-Collins said.
But, because White Challis has been busy with a project in Daytona Beach where construction is to start soon, she said, it’s likely White Challis will request an extension, as permitted under the agreement.
“The extension is for 12 months maximum, which could theoretically push initial submittals to March of 2015,” Williams-Collins said. “It is our hope that the full 12-month extension will not be needed.”
That would also delay the start of construction by up to 12 months, which is scheduled for this September and is supposed to be completed by June of 2017, she said.
Despite the delays, the project is not dead, White said, no matter how many hurdles arise.
“We’re dedicated and committed to resolving those hurdles, but we can’t control the market,” he said. “We’ve got to be patient.”
That may necessitate taking another look at how the project is built, White said. Although the product will be the same, parts may be built at different times as funding becomes available.
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