A proposal to change a big chunk of wilderness into an industrial complex in the northwest part of Deltona is a step closer to reality.
With little discussion and no opposition, the City Commission June 21 approved a request to rezone 129 acres along the east side of North Normandy Boulevard — directly across from the Amazon fulfillment center — to allow development of some 2 million square feet of space for warehousing, distribution and/or manufacturing.
Along with construction of new facilities will come the prospect of hundreds — or thousands — of employment opportunities in a city whose workers now mostly commute to other places.
“I don’t know how many jobs,” Deltona Development Services Director Ron Paradise said. “It’s difficult to quantify.”
The project is known as Portland Industrial Park, and its planners now envision three large buildings, the largest of which is described as “a high-cube warehouse“ enclosing 1 million square feet for receiving and shipping merchandise.
Two other buildings will each have 500,000 square feet.
The identities of possible occupants, known as the end-users, have not been disclosed. If there are clients in waiting, those in the know are not saying who is coming or when.
The City Commission’s tentative approval of the project comes in the form of a rezoning. The raw land, long intended for warehousing or manufacturing uses, is now zoned for industrial use. The new zoning, if approved by the commission on second and final reading July 19, will be Industrial Planned Unit Development (IPUD).
The applicant of record for Portland Industrial Park is Kimley-Horn and Associates, a nationally known engineering firm with offices in Orlando. Kimley-Horn is representing DOT Properties NV, an international firm with offices in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.
DOT Properties also owned the 85 acres Amazon now occupies. That land is also part of Portland Industrial Park.
The conceptual plan projects the daily movement of more than 800 semitrucks into and out of the new phase of Portland Industrial Park, when it is fully built out. To accommodate such heavy traffic — in addition to the anticipated large numbers of workers’ vehicles — the plan calls for widening a segment of North Normandy Boulevard to four lanes. A network of roads will be laid out on the 129-acre site, as well.
The landowner will grant a 70-foot-wide right of way along the southern edge of the property to Volusia County for future construction of a Rhode Island Avenue extension from Orange City. For several years, county transportation planners have anticipated the lengthening of Rhode Island Avenue eastward, with a bridge across Interstate 4 and connecting with North Normandy Boulevard in Deltona.
That project is also a part of the Beyond the Ultimate improvement of Interstate 4, planned by the U.S. and Florida departments of transportation. Beyond the Ultimate program provides for widening I-4 between State Road 434 in Longwood and State Road 472 in Volusia County, including toll lanes and a new interchange at Rhode Island Avenue.
Also, DOT Properties will be required to pay approximately $889,000 to Volusia County in “proportionate share” to offset the cost of future public road improvements related to Portland Industrial Park.
Paradise said the developer will decide later if there will be a single outparcel or as many as six outparcels on the property. The outparcels, according to the city planning staff, may be sites for offices, restaurants or retailers, perhaps including a convenience store and gas station with multiple pumps.
As Portland Industrial Park gained approval, City Commissioner Dana McCool voiced concern about the impact of major developments within Deltona.
“We’re building for the long term, and we need to be more environmentally conscious,” she said, as she joined in voting for the rezoning.