City officials will consider a revised agreement next week that could lead the way for a local manufacturing company to redevelop the long-vacant Old Volusia County Jail in Downtown DeLand into a new retail-and-office complex.
The DeLand City Commission and the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency board will meet jointly at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, to discuss a revised memorandum of understanding — the first outlines of a deal — between the city and Deltran Operations USA Inc.
From among three proposers, Deltran was picked in December to redevelop the former correctional facility.
Deltran is a manufacturer of battery chargers and related accessories currently based on International Speedway Boulevard in DeLand. The company plans to turn the Old Jail into GlassHouse Square, a mixed-use development, and move its corporate headquarters there.
The memorandum of understanding (or MoU) that would be considered May 28 isn’t the final agreement between the city and Deltran for the project; rather, it’s a general outline of what elements should be included in a formal development agreement.
Deltran’s project envisions two buildings on the Old Jail site.
One is a 30,000-square-foot, three-story building fronting New York Avenue. This could have 10,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space on the ground floor; 10,000 square feet of office space on the second floor; and 10,000 square feet for Deltran’s corporate headquarters on the third floor, along with a rooftop event space.
The second building, which would front West Georgia Avenue, would be an 8,100-square-foot, three-story building, with 2,800 square feet of retail/commercial space on the ground floor; 3,800 square feet dedicated to five artists’ lofts on the second floor; and a 1,500-square-foot gallery space on the third floor, with another rooftop entertainment or event space.
City commissioners considered a version of the MoU last month, but several expressed dissatisfaction with certain facets of the agreement, from a lack of consideration given to the parking situation, to distaste for the amount of incentives and tax breaks the city would be expected to give Deltran.
Many members of the public also showed up to speak on the project at last month’s meeting, but as only an hour was allocated for the meeting, commissioners decided to call a special meeting, to allow time to hear feedback from the public.
The new MoU scales back the amount of incentives the city would give, while tweaking certain elements of the original vision:
— In the original MoU, the city was to be responsible for demolishing the jail building. The new agreement provides for the city to give Deltran an allowance for demolition, capped at $300,000.
— All construction is “scheduled to be completed” by early 2022, and the construction contractor will be required to keep parking and staging areas either on the jail site, or at the city-owned lot on South Florida Avenue, formerly home to Best Cleaners.
— Deltran would be required to secure parking for the development as required by the city’s code, at the company’s expense. Public parking would not be dedicated to the project. However, the City Commission has the power to waive parking requirements for commercial projects, so how much parking Deltran would be required to build is still uncertain.
— The original MoU included a large tax rebate for 20,000 square feet of the property. For the first 10 years, the city would have paid Deltran a rebate amounting to 80 percent of DeLand and Volusia County ad valorem property taxes paid into the Downtown DeLand CRA fund, decreasing by 5 percent each year thereafter through year 14.
The new agreement provides for a 100-percent tax rebate, but limits it to the 10,000-square-foot portion of the building containing Deltran’s headquarters, and limits the duration to 10 years. This would cost taxpayers an estimated $17,450 a year.
— In the new MoU, the city would not donate the Old Jail site to Deltran until a final development order and permits are obtained for the project. The city would also keep ownership of the parking lot on the south side of West Georgia Avenue, across from the site, but after the Deltran project on the Old Jail site has been up and running for five years, Deltran would have the opportunity to purchase that parking lot at its appraised value at the time.
Additionally, if Deltran were to build on the parcel, they would be responsible for replacing the 37 parking spaces in the lot with the same amount of parking, no more than 250 feet from their current location.
— Deltran, not the city, would construct, own and maintain the “water feature” proposed in the project, which was specifically identified as a splash pad park in the initial MoU.
— The company would also be responsible for constructing “GlassHouse Alley,” which would run between New York and Georgia avenues and connect the two ends of the project. The city would be granted an easement over the alley, to provide that it generally remains open to the public.