Article Courtesy of
Daytona Beach News-Journal
By Clayton Park
Published February 4, 2020
DAYTONA BEACH — There's trouble in paradise.
The developer of the popular Jimmy Buffett-themed Latitude Margaritaville in
Daytona Beach on Thursday confirmed it has terminated its agreement to buy
additional land that would have doubled its size to more than 6,600 homes.
The reasons the
company offered: Volusia County's quadrupling of traffic
mitigation fees and plans to raise impact fees; the city's
doubling of fees for utilities; and rising construction
Calling it a "triple whammy" of increased costs, Bill
Bullock, president of developer Minto Communities' Latitude
Margaritaville division, said his company could not commit
to paying Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co.'s $26.5 million price
for the additional 1,614 acres by its deadline.
The increased infrastructure costs would have raised home
prices beyond what the Daytona Beach market could bear, he
But the deal isn't necessarily dead.
"We continue to work toward a resolution regarding the
issues," he said.
Since buying the 1,581-acre first phase of its planned
Latitude Margaritaville community in Daytona Beach in early
2017, Minto has sold 578 homes and welcomed its first
residents last year.
The gated active adult community on the
north side of LPGA Boulevard, just west of Interstate 95, is
now home to roughly 500 residents.
In this file photo, the entrance to Latitude
Margaritaville west of of Interstate 95 off LPGA Boulevard in
Daytona Beach is seen in April 2018.
The development was recently named the nation's most popular active adult
community in 2018 by Chicago-based 55places.com.
Minto was expected to eventually expand its Latitude Margaritaville
development in Daytona Beach north to State Road 40/West Granada Boulevard
with its purchase of the second land parcel from Consolidated-Tomoka.
Bullock said his company balked at the county and city's insistence on
raising infrastructure fees for the second parcel.
Those demands for increased infrastructure fees would have included a
portion of a county project to elevate and widen the Tomoka River bridge
along LPGA Boulevard from two lanes to six because of the increased traffic
being generated not just from Latitude Margaritaville, but also other nearby
housing developments including ICI Homes' Mosaic "full life" community.
Widening the bridge, located just east of the entrance to Latitude
Margaritaville, is seen as a key to alleviating the worsening traffic
bottleneck along LPGA Boulevard.
The price tag for the county project has swelled to $20 million, according
to Bullock. "That's a pretty big part of the issue," he said.
Bullock said the increases in infrastructure costs, combined with the rise
in construction labor and materials costs, would have "knocked us out of
what we consider a key price range" for Latitude Margaritaville's second
3,000-plus home phase, which wasn't slated to begin for at least five years.
"Our mission continues to be providing affordable housing," he said.
Home prices at Latitude Margaritaville currently run from the mid-$200,000s
to roughly $400,000. The "maintenance-free" community also charges a monthly
homeowners association fee of $250 to $275.
"That's been working for us so far," Bullock said of the cost of homes in
Latitude Margaritaville's 3,400-home first phase.
The developer added that the decision to terminate the deal to buy the
second land parcel will not affect home prices for its first phase, where
the infrastructure costs were "locked in" at much lower rates.
Consolidated-Tomoka announced the termination of its deal with Minto late
Thursday afternoon. The News-Journal was unable to reach county officials
John Albright, president and CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka, said, "Obviously we
feel disappointment" about Minto's termination of its planned purchase of
the second land parcel.
"It's not under contract and the 1,600 acres are entitled for residential
development, so I'm sure we'll be fielding inquiries," he said.
Minto's decision means plans to extend Tymber Creek Road to connect LPGA
Boulevard with State Road 40/West Granada are off the table, at least for
A new south section of Tymber Creek Road currently runs from LPGA Boulevard
north to the gated entrance to Latitude Margaritaville's first phase.
"If we're not going to be the developer of the next phase, we're not going
to extend it," Bullock said.
That would be a shame, not just for residents of Latitude Margaritaville,
but those living in surrounding communities as well, said Daytona Beach City
Commissioner Rob Gilliland.
"It would have been a much-needed north/south road, a (pressure-release)
valve that would have reduced the (traffic) congestion on other roads," he
"Honestly, it's heartbreaking," Gilliland said of Minto's decision to
terminate its expansion plans. "Phase II would have added $800 million to
the (city's) tax base and would have allowed us to lower our millage rate
(for all residents) to be more in line with Ormond (Beach) and Port Orange."
Gilliland said he was encouraged to hear that Minto officials are continuing
talks with the county and city to resolve its issues regarding
"I am a perpetual optimist when it comes to my city," he said. "I hope this
can be resolved, but it's going to be very difficult."