The owner of a prime chunk of well-situated land in DeBary has announced an ambitious mixed-use development due to take shape in the coming months.
Steve Costa is showing what the future could hold for 64 acres on the southeast corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Dirksen Drive on DeBary’s south side. Now a cattle pasture, the undeveloped parcel may become a commercial hub not only in DeBary, but also in the greater West Volusia area.
Dubbed The Junction, Costa said the name was inspired by “the coming together of the Spring-to-Spring Trail, SunRail and the trails to the conservation areas.”
Volusia County’s Gemini Springs Park is directly to the east of Costa’s tract.
Costa says The Junction will involve approximately $180 million in new investment to create a long-awaited downtown complex for DeBary.
“We’re very excited,” Costa told The Beacon. “We’ve got a builder who’s going to build single-family homes.”
The builder is Meritage Homes, he added.
The Junction development proposal Costa has submitted to DeBary officials calls for 150 single-family dwellings.
“It’s going to be similar to what you would see in Baldwin Park,” he added, referring to the redevelopment of the property formerly part of the now-closed Orlando Naval Training Center.
Costa said the homes in The Junction will probably range in size between 1,800 and 2,400 square feet of living space, and the prices will likely start “in the mid-$200s.”
Other residential offerings will include apartments, including upstairs units in the retail and office buildings to be constructed across the highway from the SunRail station.
Costa said the new development will include retail commercial, occupying as much as 80,000 square feet. Costa declined to name the stores he is seeking to recruit for The Junction, but he added he is talking with major chains, including supermarkets, that may be willing to tap the DeBary market.
“We also have about eight outparcels suitable for the mixed-use development, like restaurants or retail,” he noted.
Costa is eager to make The Junction a reality. Asked when the project may actually break ground, he answered, “the second quarter of 2019, or as fast as we can get the permits.”
Besides securing the approval of the DeBary City Council, Costa must also obtain environmental permits and verify if any endangered or threatened species are on the property. Traffic studies are also required.
The Junction, he said, will feature conservation and green spaces.
“One of the biggest things I’d say that we’ve got [is] over 5 miles of walking trails. It’s a pedestrian-friendly urban project. Residents will have access to SunRail, and to the parks and conservation areas,” Costa concluded.
Access to the SunRail station will come in the form of “a signalized intersection with Fort Florida Road and a crosswalk,” Costa explained.
The Junction property is within DeBary’s Transit Overlay District (TOD), a special economic-development zone whose properties are adjacent to or within easy walking distance of the SunRail depot.
Costa’s property has a history that includes attempts to bring pari-mutuel gambling to DeBary.
Costa proposed in 2015 to build a horse-racing track and a card room on the site, with the idea of promoting DeBary as a destination for out-of-towners especially interested in riding SunRail to gamble for fun and hopes of winning small fortunes.
The DeBary City Council voted down Costa’s proposals, and he went to work planning another SunRail-oriented project, now known as The Junction.