DeLand city officials have approved a project that stands to transform a disused correctional facility in Downtown DeLand into a potential new hub of commerce and culture.
The proposal, backed by DeLand manufacturer Deltran Operations Inc., would see the Old Volusia County Jail demolished, at the city’s expense, up to $300,000.
In its place, a three-story, 20-to-30,000-square-foot commercial building would be built along West New York Avenue, while an 8,500-square-foot two-story building fronting West Georgia Avenue would also be constructed.
Members of the DeLand City Commission voted unanimously in favor of the GlassHouse Square project, while the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency board voted 6-1 to approve the new development in concept. The two boards met jointly Thursday evening, with CRA board member Ella Ran casting the lone dissenting vote.
The company would also have a five-year option to purchase a small lot on the south side of West Georgia Avenue, currently used as public parking, to develop a building of up to three stories tall. If the company exercises the option, they would have to replace all of the parking spaces lost with new spaces within 250 feet.
The two buildings on the Old Jail site would be connected by Glasshouse Alley, a privately-owned but generally-open-to-the-public walkway, which would have park-like feature between the two buildings.
Deltran would tentatively plan to move its headquarters into the first building, although COVID-19 has introduced some uncertainty into the corporate-headquarters aspect of the plan.
As in many companies, some Deltran employees have been working from home, Michael Prelec of Deltran acknowledged at Thursday’s meeting.
In exchange for moving at least 30 full-time equivalent employees making an average annual salary of at least $67,142 to Downtown DeLand, Deltran would get a 100-percent break on ad valorem property taxes owed to the city and CRA.
However, City Attorney Darren Elkind acknowledged that the agreement doesn’t specify that a specific company has to occupy the building. Deltran could also build the project and then sell the property, he said.
Whichever company occupies the building, they would have to meet the staffing and salary requirements to get the economic incentives, which city staff estimate to be worth between $91,810 and $173,170.
Much of what the project will entail remains uncertain, as city staff and Deltran officials have to negotiate a planned-development agreement, which will ultimately spell out the details of the project, including allowable uses in each building, provisions for public access, and more.
This story is developing. Check back later for more details.