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Rather than “Build it and they will come,” DeBary’s leaders are putting out the word that they want commercial investors to come build the city’s planned downtown.

“Today, we’re very proactive,” City Manager Carmen Rosamonda said. “We’ve made it very clear that we’re not going to sit around and wait for development to come.”

With unanimous consent, the City Council ratified a real estate marketing agreement with Colliers International Florida LLC, to advertise the Main Street property and seek out retailers and other businesses willing to tap the growing population in and around DeBary, as well as day-tripping visitors attracted to its parks and trails. 

Colliers is one of the largest real-estate corporations in the world, with a presence in 67 countries, according to Ken Krasnow, an executive with Colliers.

“We are a global organization … full-service when it comes to real estate,” Krasnow said.

The Main Street site, approximately 19 acres on the northwest corner of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Fort Florida Road, is within shouting distance of the SunRail station. 

The City of DeBary owns most of the land in the Main Street site, but owners of smaller adjacent parcels are also taking part in the venture. Most of the Main Street land was formerly a mobile-home park.

The contract calls for the city to pay Collier’s a 4-percent commission for each land sale it arranges within the Main Street zone.

Rosamonda said DeBary has invested more than two years of planning in Main Street.

“We really had an image problem. People used to call DeBary DeadBary,” he said.

Now, if all goes well, what exists now only on paper and in the imagination will go vertical in the near future. The city is hoping the new business district will serve as a gathering place for events to draw people from near and far, if the vision becomes reality.

“This is a plan that has had a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Mayor Karen Chasez said. “This is a very fortunate convergence of natural beauty and opportunities outdoors.”

The land set aside for DeBary’s Main Street is within the city’s Transit Overlay District. The TOD encompasses about 210 acres around the SunRail depot. The objective of the TOD is to attract and maintain high-quality development that will make DeBary a desirable place to visit, live, work and play.

DeBary’s Main Street is not to be confused with the DeBary Town Center, which is located within The Junction. The Junction is a 68-acre tract between U.S. Highway 17-92 and Gemini Springs Park. It’s owned by Steve Costa and is poised for mixed-use development, including retail-commercial, professional offices, multifamily and single-family residential.

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