When Joe Valente purchased the former Clark’s Furniture building in 2001, few could have envisioned that the dilapidated 1925 structure would become the bustling home of a variety of retail and office spaces.
Even fewer, perhaps, know that the three-story brick building at the corner of Woodland Boulevard and Georgia Avenue also contains one of DeLand’s most unusual living spaces.
For about 15 years, Valente has enjoyed living on the third floor at 120 S. Woodland Blvd., in what is now called Downtown Executive Center.
During that decade-and-a-half, Valente — who owns Boston Coffeehouse as well as other Downtown DeLand property — married and became the father of twins, who are now 3 years old.
Now, the family’s 6,000-square-foot, one-of-a-kind three-bedroom apartment is officially for rent.
Valente said the apartment served him well as a bachelor, then as a home for him and his wife, Ariella. But with two growing children, he figures it’s time to move into a home with a bit more outdoor space.
“Because of my kids, I had to find something with some land, to throw the football around. I’ve been living here 15 years, and it’s been awesome, but it’s not as conducive to raising kids,” Joe Valente said.
The Downtown life has its perks, Valente noted, but it comes with worries, as well.
“You know, we go out the door; we hold their hands; we have to worry about cars,” he said.
In addition to being one of the most unusual rental homes in DeLand, Valente’s apartment is also one of the most expensive; he hopes to get $4,000 a month, or about $8 per square foot per year.
There are perks to be had for that princely sum: Water and trash pickup, along with use of a secure private elevator to the apartment are included. The home also comes fully furnished; it even includes workout equipment.
Walking into the space, it’s immediately apparent that the Valente home is not your average loft. Immediately to the left inside the front door is the living room, with a sectional couch and a large-screen TV mounted to the wall.
What dominates the room, however, is a waterfall-like water feature adorning one of the walls, stretching most of the way up to the high ceiling.
The chandelier is one of many in an eclectic variety of lighting fixtures throughout the apartment.
Behind the living room is the kitchen, built on a curved raised platform. It has all stainless-steel appliances, a large marble countertop, and a breakfast island with a built-in induction stove. Nearby the dining table sits under a large dome-shaped lighting feature, and next to a baby grand piano.
Three air-conditioning systems control the climate of the expansive space, allowing the residents to cool or heat only the portion they’re using at any given time. The apartment is also equipped with a tankless water heater and energy-efficient windows.
Another amenity is a home theater, which features leather seating and surround sound, creating a good environment to enjoy a movie with a dozen or so of your closest friends on the 100-inch screen.
“It shakes the building when you turn it up,” Valente said.
Oh, and one of the bathrooms features his-and-her closets with LED lighting, along with an electronically controlled fire pit near the bathtub. Another power room has an open-style shower with dual shower heads and its own barber’s station.
Contrasting with the modern features are exposed trusses and refurbished original wood flooring that are nearly 100 years old.
Valente estimates his improvements to the apartment to be worth about $600,000.
The home was featured on a segment on the HGTV show Rezoned in 2006, and the segment occasionally airs on the channel’s other renovation-related programs.
Anyone interested in renting the apartment can call Valente’s wife, Ariella Valente, at 407-283-2250.