Article Courtesy of The Daytona Beach News-Journal
By Jim Abbot
Published October 8, 2019
DAYTONA BEACH SHORES —
For owners and residents at the 29-story
Peck Plaza condominium, Monday marks an
It was three years
ago, on Oct. 7, 2016, that Hurricane Matthew hit Volusia
County, damaging the landmark tower and displacing occupants
for restoration and repairs that have yet to be completed.
“It’s been frustrating,” said Greg Northrup, 72, who has
owned a unit in the building for 25 years. “We get close and
then there’s always some delay.”
As yet another anniversary of the storm approaches, the
outlook for reopening the tower is more encouraging, said
Liam Downey, Peck Plaza’s Community Association director. By
the end of this month, Downey hopes that owners will be able
to send in their own sub-contractors to start repair work on
individual units, he said.
But residents themselves won’t be able to return until the
building receives its certificate of occupancy, a process
that is still likely to take several months, he said.
Once the tallest oceanfront structure on the Eastern
Seaboard and still the county’s tallest building at 343 feet
— at least until completion of the Daytona Beach Convention
Hotel & Condominiums a few miles north on State Road A1A —
Peck Plaza is one of the area’s most noticeable lingering
reminder of Matthew’s impact.
However, it’s not the only beachside property still
shuttered because of a one-two punch from Matthew and then
Hurricane Irma in 2017. On the north end of Daytona Beach,
for instance, both the La Playa Beach Resort & Suites,
across from Bellair Plaza, and the Americano Beach Resort
remain closed because of storm damage.
Matthew caused an estimated $67.7 million in damages to
Volusia County hotels and motels, according to the county
Property Appraiser’s office, part of an overall total of
nearly $600 million in damage in Volusia and Flagler
A year later, Irma whacked Peck Plaza again, tearing a newly replaced AC
unit off the roof and contributing to additional delays.
“It has been a hardship for the owners, but they have been very diligent and
faithful in holding on for three years,” said David Everest, president of
the 11-member condo association board of directors. “They like the way
building is looking, the way it is progressing. Attention to detail takes
longer, but in the end you have a more solid product. We do see a light at
the end of the tunnel and I don’t think its a freight train.”
The last remaining hurdle to reopening for occupants is completing a
pressurization process in the stairwells, required to bring the 1974
building into compliance with current fire safety codes, Downey said. It
will be the final step in a restoration that represents a $14 million
investment, up from the project’s initial $10 million estimate.
“We’re still waiting for some of the paperwork to be approved, and then it’s
a three-month job,” said Downey, who is pushing to start the pressurization
work soon enough to enable owners and residents to start returning sometime
“Conforming a building built in 1974 to 2019 regulations is a bit of a
problem,” he said. “The building has two stairwells, but it’s almost like a
DNA matrix. Even though they are separate, they still intersect with each
It’s not the first challenge presented by a combination of the building’s
age and its distinctive, glass-dominated cylindrical design. After three
years, installation of 1,500 new windows that encircle the tower is finally
complete, except for two remaining windows on the building’s club level,
Because of complications involved with obtaining and installing the windows,
that part of the project took 19 months longer than anticipated, said Edwin
Peck Jr., president of Peck & Associates Construction, the project’s general
Peck’s father, Edwin Sr., developed the original building.
“This building will be almost a new building by the time we get through with
it,” Peck said. “It should last another 50 years.”
On a recent afternoon, crews worked on sanding interior door frames to
prepare them for painting in coming weeks. Much of the remaining work
involves adding updated safety features including a first-responder
communication system and a series of fire-preventative “water curtains” for
“For those two things, we’re probably the first building in Volusia County
to put those in,” Peck said. “They will be required in all the other condos
at some point, so we’ll be way ahead of the curve as far as regulations go.”
In addition to displacing 87 owners and tenants in 98 condominium units, the
lengthy restoration project also shuttered Top of Daytona, the well-known
restaurant and bar atop the tower.
Owners of the restaurant couldn’t be reached this week, but Downey said they
plan to reopen. They are facing the same obstacles as condo owners, he said.
“I know they intend to re-open,” Downey said. “There’s work going on right
now with their fire system and that will help the whole building to move
ahead. They are just like owners of the units. They have to wait for the
certificate of occupancy to get things rolling.”
Despite the long wait, only two condo owners have sold their units, Downey
“It has been fantastic the amount of owners who want to see the community
back whole again, to move back home again,” Downey said. “There has been a
lot of butting heads with the (condo) association board and some of the
contractors, but the amount of patience everyone has shown is really
In addition to the cost of repairing units, owners also continue to pay $525
monthly maintenance fees.
“It has been very costly for all of the owners,” said Northrup, who lives in
the condo with his wife, Teresa, as their primary residence. “I doubt
anybody is going to spend less than $50,000 to $60,000 on repairs. It’s just
been a hardship on everybody financially.”
Community loyalty might not be the main reason that owners haven’t been
selling, Northrup said.
“If you sell it now, you’re not going to get anything for it,” he said.
“People don’t want to buy in a building that’s not put back together. I
imagine there will be some people selling when they can make a good profit —
after it’s put back together.”