Development will be next to SunRail station
Years of dreaming about and envisioning a viable downtown center for DeBary appear poised to become a reality.
The city’s plans for a Main Street along U.S. Highway 17-92 on DeBary’s south side may soon move from flat paper to vertical structures, with a groundbreaking by the end of the 2022 calendar year.
“We’re going to end up with something that is going to be very beautiful for the city,” Mayor Karen Chasez said, as the DeBary City Council on Feb. 2 unanimously approved the latest draft for Main Street.
“It’s been a decade in the making,” City Council Member Patricia Stevenson said.
2010 — DeBary’s transportation-oriented-development zone is envisioned, coincident with the designation of DeBary as a SunRail destination
2014 — Service begins in May to and from DeBary’s SunRail station
2024 — The year SunRail service could begin in DeLand, after the system is expanded northward
16 — The current number of SunRail stations
The City Council has chosen Mosaic Development LLC of St. Petersburg to build DeBary’s Main Street on 19.5 acres adjacent to the SunRail depot.
The city and four private entities own the 19.5 acres of land, and the City Council selected Mosaic to build the urban center and preserve DeBary’s “small-town-living atmosphere,” City Manager Carmen Rosamonda said.
DeBary rejected other developers whose proposals were for nearer the 1,200 housing units that would have been allowed. Mosaic plans to build 500 one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Rosamonda estimated the capital investment by Mosaic Development — water, sewer, stormwater infrastructure, streets and buildings — will reach and may exceed “$50 million to $70 million,” including the $6.25 million the company will pay to DeBary and four other property owners for the land.
Main Street may be the catalyst for other mixed-use development in and around DeBary’s Transit Overlay District (TOD), a 210-acre zone anchored by the train station and intended for top-quality development that may become a destination for visitors.
The new downtown center will serve as a commercial district, with shops, stores, restaurants and offices on the first floor, topped by 500 posh apartments where the owners of the ground-level businesses can live and call home.
“These are Class-A upscale apartments. It’s going to have places to live and walk to where they work,” Rosamonda said.
The businesses in the downtown core will serve the needs of the new urban dwellers and people from other areas, including those who arrive on SunRail to spend time in a change of scenery and attend a full round of events, such as art shows and concerts.
Rosamonda noted DeBary’s Main Street will be without the major retailers, such as Walmart.
“The big-box [stores] can stay in Orange City,” he said.
Main Street will be a two-phase project, with 300 apartments in the first phase, and 200 in the second. The new residents will be conveniently located for commuting by train.
“We’re literally on the corner where SunRail is,” Roxanne Amoroso, principal partner in Mosaic Development, told the City Council.
She said the build-out may take four to five years.
Amoroso said her company, which has developed higher-end mixed-use projects in Kissimmee, St. Petersburg, Bonita Springs and other places in Florida, is committed to quality.
“We’re very family-oriented. We all have children,” she said, adding that her company also builds places for four-footed children. “We are dog lovers.”
“It means a lot to us. When we commit, we go all the way,” Amoroso told the City Council.
“Our residents want to live in an urban area, but they also want outdoor recreation,” Mosaic partner Marc Mariano said.
The miles of trails that come together and cross nearby may provide that recreation for cyclists, walkers and runners.
In fact, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways and Trails Council has just recognized DeBary as the state’s 12th Trail Town. The designation becomes official in April.
Council Member Stevenson praised the plans for the multistory buildings.
“Building vertically is really better for the environment,” she said. “It’s allowing us to have more green space.”
With the making of a new urban center and destination, Council Member William Sell cautioned, will come more people and more vehicles.
“We will have more traffic,” he said.
Chasez acknowledged that prospect.
“I do know that we have residents that rightfully cringe at the idea of more traffic,” she said, adding, “It is very important that this be a quality top-tier project.”