Editor, The Beacon:
What should be done with the vacant site of the former historic Hotel Putnam?
Last week’s Beacon had the article “FOR SALE: The site of the former Hotel Putnam.” In the article was the January 2023 statement of the owner, Axia Partners, that if the building were to be demolished, they would build something “meaningful” in its place.
What could be the future of the site? What could Axia Partners do for the citizens of DeLand that would be “meaningful”? Sale of the property certainly cannot be described as “meaningful.”
For guidance, go to the Axia Partners website: https://www.axiapartners.com.
The webpage states, under Value Creation: “Our investment philosophy is centered around actively creating value in the properties we acquire rather than leaving our fortunes to the whims of market appreciation. We plan to leave a lasting legacy in the market by building meaningful properties and experiences. We also are committed to bringing value for our investors beyond just financial returns as we look to educate and edify at every point of the process.”
Read this quote carefully, and then read it again. The lasting legacy Axia Partners can create for themselves, and their investors, is to donate the $3 million property to DeLand for a city park: “Putnam Park, a gift of Axia Partners.” Then the company and its investors can take a tax deduction for this charitable contribution.
This would truly “leave a lasting legacy in the market”!!
Dear Friends, Below is the e-mail that I sent to the City Manager with further thoughts on he issue of what responsibility the developer has to the Citizens of DeLand for the “demolition by neglect” of the Hotel Putnam: “Dear Michael;
Given the “commitment” that the developer made to DeLand, and given the serious negative impact the developer has had to a critical historic resource of the community by his “demolition by neglect,” …he shrugs his shoulders, sells the property, and just moves on?
I think it is critical that every local government in American knows what the developer has done to this historic resource of the City of DeLand. When a developer comes into a community asking for “incentives” and/or development regulation modifications, making promises about how wonderful they are, it is important that those other communities know about the developer’s track record before they make any decisions. Surely, these other communities deserve to know “The DeLand Experience.”
On the other hand, the donation of the land and the sponsorship of the park improvement would tell quite a different story of how this developer made up for the destruction of one of the most historic resources of the City of DeLand. Either way, I will be looking for an appropriate venue to have this story told.
Also, some argue that the City has passively sat on the sidelines while the Hotel Putnam deteriorated. Perhaps now is the time to take affirmative action and advocate for the people who already live here, as opposed to spending so much time focused on doing things for the people who do not live here yet.
My best regards,