A draft agreement between DeLand and the company tapped to redevelop the Old Volusia County Jail site shows it could still be several years before the proposed GlassHouse Square project is ready for its first occupant.
The project, spearheaded by Deltran Operations Inc., would see the former jail transformed into a multiuse complex with office, retail and event space.
The DeLand City Commission and Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency chose the company’s proposal in December 2018, beating out proposals from two other companies, including Conrad Realty Co., which owns the property immediately east of the jail.
Officials agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding with Deltran, which laid out the general details of what Deltran would build and the incentives the city would provide.
Since that time, City Attorney Darren Elkind and GlassHouse counsel Alex Ford have been negotiating a detailed contract that would more specifically lay out what would be built, when it would be built, where construction crews could “lay down” their equipment, economic incentives and more.
The result, as of this writing, is a 40-page draft “acquisition and redevelopment agreement” based on a draft submitted by Ford about a month ago. The two attorneys have been making tweaks to the agreement since.
The agreement is very much still a draft contract, Elkind stressed, but he said the two sides have found consensus on many of the major issues.
“I believe we have reached consensus on most of the issues, but as they say, the devil is in the details,” Elkind said.
City officials will likely request changes to several provisions as the document goes before city planning staff, the City Commission and the CRA board for approval.
The earliest the agreement would come before the two boards for their debate and approval would be sometime in March, likely in the later part of the month.
- The project still calls for two buildings on the Old Jail property itself, with Building 1, currently slated for Phase 1 of the project, fronting West New York Avenue. Building 2, planned as part of a second phase, would front West Georgia Avenue on the south end of the Old Jail acre.
- Building 1 can be up to three stories tall, with a rooftop event space. Each floor can contain up to 10,000 square feet of office/commercial space, though no more than 30 percent of the first-floor space can be offices. The building could also include an up-to-1,500-square-foot gallery/event space, subject to a reduction in office/commercial space of the same amount. The rooftop event space can be up to 10,000 square feet.
- Building 2 can be up to two stories tall. The ground floor can be up to 2,800 square feet of office and commercial space — again, no more than 30 percent office. The second floor would feature up to 3,800 square feet of office/commercial space, an event/gallery space, and/or up to five “Artist’s Lofts,” to be further defined later.
- A “gathering space” and “pedestrian walkway” and private parking lot for GlassHouse’s tenants will also be constructed as part of the project’s first phase.
- GlassHouse would be allowed to vary the order of development — for instance, build the second building first, or build both at the same time — as long as such development is done with the least disruption possible to the public parking lot on the south side of West Georgia Avenue.
- Within either 18 months of this initial agreement’s effective date, or six months after a planned-development (or PD) agreement for the site is approved by the city (whichever comes later), GlassHouse must submit a site plan for the project’s first phase, preliminary and final plats for the site, and construction plans for Building 1.
- The city shall “execute without delay” its approval of the plats and site plan, when it receives them. A planned-development (or PD) agreement would need to be approved as part of the rezoning process, which would govern many details of the project. The city retains the right to reject such a rezoning request.
- In all, GlassHouse needs to make “commercially reasonable” efforts to get permit applications for the first phase approved within 24 months of the contract’s effective date.
- If the city doesn’t approve rezoning of the site to a planned development within 12 months of the initial agreement’s effective date, GlassHouse could opt to terminate the agreement, no later than 13 months after the initial effective date.
- GlassHouse must pay all city, state and federal fees, including application and permit fees. The company would be entitled to any impact fee credits available to the property.
- GlassHouse must make “commercially reasonable” efforts to begin construction 12 months after approval of the PD agreement, and to wrap up construction of the first phase of the project 24 months after starting.
- The city would grant GlassHouse an easement on the former Best Cleaners lot at 224 S. Florida Ave., so the company can stage construction equipment there. The city would also grant GlassHouse a 10-foot-wide easement across the small parking lot on the south side of West Georgia Avenue (the “option parcel”) “connecting the property to lands lying South of the Option Parcel.”
- Any extensions of the deadlines would need to be agreed to by both parties in writing.
- Upon obtaining all necessary permits and approvals for Building 1, GlassHouse must provide the city with evidence of financial capacity to develop the project. If they do so, the city will begin demolishing the Old Jail.
- The city will pay up to $300,000 to demolish the asbestos-riddled former correctional facility. If the cost exceeds that amount, GlassHouse has the option of either paying the excess cost, or terminating its agreement.
- The city shall convey the Old Jail property to GateHouse 90 days after the jailhouse has been demolished and cleared from the property.
- Since the Old Jail site is almost entirely impervious surface, the city won’t require GlassHouse to handle its own stormwater. The city will have the option to install and maintain stormwater vaults below parts of the property, at the city’s cost.
- GlassHouse will get a five-year option to purchase the “option parcel” (the small parking lot on the south side of West Georgia Avenue).
- Should GlassHouse buy the option parcel, they would be required to replace the lost parking spaces on another lot within 250 feet of the West Georgia Avenue lot, no later than the closing date on the option parcel. Alternatively, GlassHouse could opt to grant the city a temporary easement on the option parcel for public parking, until the replacement parking is provided. It’s thought that GlassHouse would use the Comfort Service property to satisfy this request.
- After Building 1 of the project receives its certificate of occupancy, the Downtown DeLand Community Redevelopment Agency will start crediting GlassHouse for part of its property taxes. The credit would be granted each year for 10 years, but would apply only to the portion of the property occupied by Deltran’s headquarters, which the company plans to move into the building, and only if the headquarters remains in the building. In other words, the city will calculate the square footage the Deltran facilities occupy, and pay GlassHouse an amount equal to that percentage of property taxes that would be paid to Volusia County, the City of DeLand, and the CRA.
- Unless the deadlines are extended, construction on Phase 1, Building 1, must start within 24 months from closing on the Old Jail property, and the property must be ready for occupancy within 36 months from the start of construction.
- If GlassHouse misses either of the above deadlines, the city can serve GlassHouse a notice to invoke the contract’s reverter clause, either returning the property to city ownership, or to the ownership of a bank that had lent money for the development. GlassHouse would have 180 days to “cure that condition” (i.e., begin construction). After the 180-day period, the city can invoke the reverter clause, after which GlassHouse has 15 days to convey the property back to the city.