While Volusia County and neighboring localities devise plans to build job-creating projects on now vacant land near the interchange of State Road 472 and Interstate 4, DeLand has developers interested in the area, too.
Two projects planned in the area formerly known as the Southwest Activity Center were approved on first reading Aug. 15 by the DeLand City Commission: CTC DeLand and DeLand Tech Park.
DeLand Tech Park
Another development in DeLand’s portion of the activity center was also approved on first reading Aug. 15.
This proposed project, encompassing 143 acres, would include industrial and commercial uses. As of now, the exact layout is uncertain. That’s because the developer wants to leave its options open to allow for future tenants’ flexibility.
Lines specifically identifying what will be utilized as a commercial area and what will be used as an industrial area, Watts explained, are flexible enough that, once interested tenants come forward, they will decide on the exact details.
Currently, the tentative plan looks something like this: The 143 acres are divided roughly down the middle by an access road named Kirk Road. That road will connect State Road 472 and Cassadaga Road and allow for easier truck access throughout the Tech Park.
To the east of Kirk Road is one parcel that has been identified as a location for industrial use. To the west of Kirk Road are two parcels, one labeled for stormwater facilities and uses, including a power center (referring to a potential big-box store) and neighborhood retail, and another with planned uses including more neighborhood retail, a power center and a gas station with a convenience store.
While specifics haven’t been ironed out, a maximum number of trips that would be generated by the development has been laid out, as the city’s comp plan allows for a maximum of 33,000 daily trips generated by the activity in the SWAC.
If DeLand Tech Park is built out to its maximum density, Watts explained, the estimated number of daily trips generated by the development would be around 18,000, leaving space for trips generated by residents of DeLand and potential future development of a parcel south of DeLand Tech Park that’s owned by AdventHealth.
In total, Watts said, the project has required the developer to wrangle seven property owners — including members of the Kirk family, for whom Kirk Road would be named — to purchase the land that could become DeLand Tech Park.
The City Commission approved DeLand Tech Park by a unanimous vote with a few tweaks, including providing a connectivity plan for pedestrian walkways and bike paths — notably along Pinehurst Drive, which will connect CTC DeLand and DeLand Tech Park. Commissioners also required signage along I-4 that will, per Planning Director Mike Holmes, promote the city’s public image.
To move ahead with each project, both CTC DeLand and DeLand Tech Park must be approved on second readings by the City Commission.
The DeLand City Commission meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Monday of each month in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 120 S. Florida Ave.
CTC DeLand, or Christopher Thomas Communities DeLand, is a 233-unit project planned for development on nearly 29 acres at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Beltway and Cassadaga Road.
The apartment homes are not intended as affordable housing, the developer’s attorney, Mark Watts of Cobb Cole, said, but as a gated community of “luxury” apartments meant to attract seniors looking to downsize and younger people who want a single-family feel without the responsibility of homeownership.
“It’s a different use. It’s something we haven’t seen in DeLand before,” Watts said Aug. 15.
Watts noted that the original plan for the Southwest Activity Center specifically called for residential as well as commercial and industrial development in the area.
The CTC cottage units are planned to have yards maintained by the property-management company, along with other amenities like a dog park.
When the City Commission first saw the project in June, commissioners expressed concern about so many housing units so close to another project that would be zoned for industrial development.
So, the first reading for CTC DeLand was postponed so the neighboring DeLand Tech Park, which the City Commission had not yet seen, could be discussed at the same meeting.
Changes were made to the luxury-apartment project in the meantime, including moving the development’s primary entrance from along the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Beltway north to Cassadaga Road.
The City Commission still had some concerns about it, but unanimously approved the CTC DeLand project on first reading. One suggestion to improve the project was to consider instituting subsidies on rent for residents working at a business in the neighboring DeLand Tech Park.
Watts said he would talk with the applicant about that.