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Three companies are vying for a chance to transform a long-vacant piece of Downtown DeLand into something new that could add more life, art, and residents to the district.

Proposals for redevelopment of the Old Volusia County Jail, at 130 W. New York Ave., became public Nov. 28. The long-disused former correctional facility, which sits on 0.86 acre of prime property fronting both West Georgia and West New York avenues, stands to be a crown jewel of redevelopment efforts in Downtown DeLand.

The three businesses who submitted redevelopment proposals are Conrad Realty Co. of DeLand; Deltran Operations USA, Inc. of DeLand; and E2L Real Estate Solutions, LLC of Winter Park.

The companies’ plans vary in content and scope, with Deltran and E2L proposing to tie in nearby properties in their redevelopment efforts. The Conrad Realty Co. project focuses entirely on the jail property, which sits next to the company’s existing historic property at 110-118 W. New York Ave.

Costs for the three proposals range in scope from $2.5 million in the case of the Conrad proposal, to $11.1 million in Deltran’s plans.

The E2L proposal doesn’t include a solid estimated price tag, saying instead that “the market will ultimately decide the private development specific to space needs and affordability.”

The city first issued its request for proposals for the Old Jail site in late July, after a property swap with Volusia County gave it possession of the vacant facility.

The county agreed to cede the former correctional institution to the city, along with two small parking lots on the south side of West Georgia Avenue.

In exchange, the city gave up its former City Hall Annex at 121 W. Rich Ave., which the county had been leasing for $50,000 per year.

DeLand city officials are still in the process of reviewing the proposals, with plans to interview the proposers on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Ultimately, the members of the Downtown DeLand Community Redevelopment Agency and City Commission will vote on what to do with the Old Jail, and any city role in redevelopment.

Courthouse Marketplace, by Conrad Realty Co.

Estimated construction cost: $2.5 million to $3 million

The proposal submitted by Conrad Realty Co., which owns property immediately east of the Old Jail site, is unique, as it’s the only one of the three that proposes to reuse part of the existing jail building.

The company’s proposal takes inspiration from urban markets like Orlando’s East End Market, Plant Street Market in Winter Garden, and Chelsea Market in New York.

“The Old Jail floor plan lends itself to creation of 26-30 small and very small business spaces that will rent at varying price points,” the proposal says.

Small businesses of the sort that showcase their wares at the weekly Artisan Alley Farmers Market would be the main market for such spaces.

The proposal notes that four Farmers Market businesses have already become brick-and-mortar DeLand shops. Offering affordable spaces for such businesses, in a facility with shared amenities and utilities, could lower the barrier of entry for very small businesses to establish themselves in a more permanent physical location, Conrad Realty surmises.

Among the marketplace’s shared amenities would be a large commercial kitchen, open to tenants producing eligible goods, but also home-based businesses with a need for access to commercial-scale facilities.

The company also plans to develop event space on the roughly  7,800-square-foot second floor of the Old Jail. Currently, Conrad Realty rents out the Artisan Alley Garage on its existing property for weekend events, but the new facilities would be a dedicated, full-time venue.

During “event off-times,” the space could be subleased to “escape room” businesses.

“Where better to practice this trending experience than a former jail?” the proposal asks.

The spaces could possibly open up onto a rooftop garden, or into the former exercise cage on the east side of the building.

A second phase of the project could redevelop the third floor of the jail into residential or office space, or possibly a data center, boutique hotel or other concept.

The proposal also specifies a variety of ancillary features, including a solar-panel array similar to the 50-kilowatt system on top of the company’s main building, at 110-116 W. New York Ave. Other energy-efficiency improvements, like a water-saving cistern-and-pump system, are also slated.

Much of the public parking on the site would be preserved, as well.

Editor’s note: Conrad Realty Co. President Barb Shepherd is publisher of The Beacon, and the newspaper leases its offices from Conrad Realty.

GlassHouse Square, by Deltran Operations USA

Estimated construction cost: $11.1 million

With a development program envisioning three buildings over two phases, Deltran’s proposal is wide-ranging.

The cornerstone of the company’s proposal is the relocation of Deltran’s headquarters, currently located on U.S. Highway 92 near the DeLand Municipal Airport, to a 10,000-square-foot space within a 30,000-square-foot mixed-use building on the Old Jail site, fronting West Georgia Avenue.

The building would also feature 10,000 square feet of retail/commercial space, a rooftop event space, and a 10,000-square-foot business incubator dubbed The Innovation Center, which would provide space for startup businesses in the software, technology and product-design fields.

Additionally, the first phase of Deltran’s project would include another 8,100-square-foot building on the south side of Georgia Avenue, in a former county parking lot DeLand acquired as part of the Old Jail land-swap deal.

The smaller building would contain retail space, along with artists’ lofts and a 1,500-square-foot gallery space, along with another rooftop event/exhibition space.

A second phase of the project would see a five-story, 50,000-square-foot mixed-use building constructed on the northern end of the Old Jail site, fronting West New York Avenue.

The building would contain another 10,000 square feet of retail/commercial space, along with 46 residential units.

A “gathering space” would fill the space between the two buildings on the Old Jail site, featuring a splash pad and space for vendors and food trucks.

The company’s proposal also would see a “festival street” dubbed GlassHouse Alley on the eastern edge of the site, running between West New York and West Georgia avenues.

Deltran’s proposal also suggests the GlassHouse Square project could tie into further redevelopment projects to the south and west.

The company has 1.07 acres of land on the southwest corner of South Florida Avenue and West Howry Avenue, currently owned by Comfort Service Inc., under contract. More mixed-use development could be constructed on the parcel in the future.

Proposal by E2L Real Estate Solutions, LLC

Estimated construction cost: Unclear at this time

The only proposal from an out-of-town company, E2L’s proposal aims to take a holistic approach to redevelopment around the Old Jail.

The proposal is somewhat lighter on details than the other two, but it aims to fulfill many of the goals set out in the Georgia Avenue District Vision/Master Plan, developed in the second half of 2016 by consulting firm CPH.

E2L’s plans look beyond the Old Jail parcel, with drawings included with the proposal showing buildings stretching all the way west to South Florida Avenue. Improvements would also be made on the current DeLand City Hall and Fire Station No. 81 site, including a city playground and a park around the retention pond on the site.

The fire station is slated to be relocated in the coming years, opening its site up to redevelopment.

The proposal includes a three-story “U”-shaped mixed-use building north of West Georgia Avenue, with retail on the first floor and office and/or residential units on the second and third floors. The three faces of the “U” would front West New York, South Florida and West Georgia avenues.

A three-story parking garage with 240 spaces would sit inside the “U.”

Two more buildings south of West Georgia Avenue, along with the existing building containing Trilogy Coffee Roasting Co., would make up another “U” shape, fronting West Georgia, South Florida and West Howry avenues.

A building along West Georgia, next to Trilogy, would be a one-or-two-story retail space, while the other structure would be a two-or-three-story apartment or townhome building. Surface parking would be located inside this “U.”

A “main events center” would be built along South Florida Avenue.

The project also proposes redevelopment of the postal facility at the corner of South Clara and West New York avenues.

E2L’s proposal says the final development program and cost would be determined later on, after the city “approve[s] the E2L team to commence with the master development.”

The company would undertake a process including workshops to determine what the final development plan would look like.

An estimated construction cost isn’t included in the proposal; rather, E2L said the market will dictate the extent of what exactly is constructed.

“While we have been completing our due diligence on each of the assets classes, we have not had adequate time to prove out the true market potential for each,” part of the proposal reads. “What we do understand is the market will ultimately dictate the private development specific to space needs and affordability.”


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