Orlando developer unveils major project near Daytona’s Margaritaville

Article Courtesy of  The Daytona Beach News-Journal

By Clayton Park   

Published December 14, 2019


An Orlando developer has announced plans for a massive 2,600-acre mixed-use development along State Road 40 north of Latitude Margaritaville that could become home to 10,000+ residents as well as businesses. The developer also says Avalon Park Daytona will add more than $2 billion in tax revenues for the city and county.

DAYTONA BEACH — Latitude Margaritaville is about to get a big new neighbor.

An Orlando developer has agreed to buy 2,600 acres of undeveloped land directly north of the fast-growing Jimmy Buffett 55-and-older community here.

Plans call for creating a massive mixed-use development called Avalon Park Daytona, that upon completion in a decade or more, will become home to more than 10,000 residents as well as businesses.

Upon completion, the massive development will stretch along the south side of State Road 40/West Granada Boulevard just west of Interstate 95, from Tymber Creek Road west to Tiger Bay State Forest.

It will be across from Ormond Beach’s Breakaway Trails and Hunter’s Ridge communities on the north side of SR-40.

“The intention is to begin developing immediately, but until the site plan gets approved (by the City of Daytona Beach) we won’t be able to put a timeline on it,” said Stephanie Lerret, a spokeswoman for the project’s developers, Orlando-based Avalon Park Group and Switzerland-based SiteEx Properties Holding AG.

Beat Kahli, a Swiss national who is CEO of both Avalon Park Group and SiteEx, said his goal is to start infrastructure work late next year and begin construction of the first homes, along with a small “downtown” in early to mid-2021.

“We are not just developers, we’re town builders,” he said in a phone interview.


This is the downtown area at Avalon Park Orlando. Its developer, Beat Kahli of Avalon Park Group, is planning to create a similar "live , work, learn and play" community in Daytona Beach, along the South side of State Road 40 west of Interstate 95.

While plans for Avalon Park Daytona have yet to be finalized, Kahli said he envisions building a town that will have approximately 6,000 homes, including single-family houses, apartments and townhouses, as well as restaurants, shops, a grocery store, schools, medical facilities, churches, and offices.

Kahli said he is also planning to launch a global network of “co-use office” complexes called The 5th Floor that will include a location at Avalon Park Daytona.

For a membership fee, businesspeople can work out of and meet with clients at any 5th Floor location, including Orlando, Tampa, as well as in Australia, Singapore, and Switzerland.

Avalon Park Daytona, when fully built out, will add more than $2 billion in ad valorem tax revenues for the City of Daytona Beach and Volusia County, Kahli said.

Although the north side of State Road 40/Granada Boulevard is Ormond Beach, the land Avalon Park Group is buying from Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. and Magnetar Capital is within the city limits of Daytona Beach.

The land includes roughly 1,000 acres on the west side that was previously under contract to ICI Homes.

It also includes the 1,618 acres on the east side that up until the beginning of this year was under contract to Latitude Margaritaville developer Minto Communities, confirmed Consolidated-Tomoka CEO John Albright.

Kahli and Albright both declined to say how much Avalon Park Group/SitEX has agreed to pay for the land.

“This property gives us a great canvas to create a place where people can find everything they need in every state of their lives,” said Kahli.

The website for Avalon Park Group describes the developer as specializing in creating “live, learn, work and play communities.”

The company calls itself as a “leading proponent of the New Urbanism approach in community planning.”

Its developments include the 1,860-acre Avalon Park in east Orlando that is home to a mix of single-family homes, apartments and office/commercial buildings.

Avalon Park Orlando is currently home to 16,000 residents and 100 businesses, Kahli said.

To date, approximately 3,600 single-family homes have been built at Avalon Park Orlando, which also has roughly 1,200 multifamily residential units in the form of apartments, townhouses and senior living facilities, he said.

It has taken 20 years to develop and build Avalon Park Orlando, which is nearing completion with a boutique hospital a 40,000-square-foot office building and more 55+ senior residences set to be added soon, Kahli said.

“With Avalon Park Daytona, we’re going to do it in 10-plus years, at least that’s my goal,” he said.

Avalon Park Orlando, located next to the Econlockhatchee River, also has 240 acres of wetlands, 400 acres of upland preserve, 250 acres of man-made lakes, walking/bicycling trails, and several “neighborhood villages,” each with a community pool and cabana at its center.

“Our residents are proud to call Avalon Park home and that includes having the best roads and schools of any development. We are confident the residents of Avalon Park Daytona will be proud of this as well,” said Kahli.

The developer said he intends to “work closely with local governments ... to ensure its community maintains high standards for infrastructure, transportation and education.”

Avalon Park Group over the years has invested more than $100 million into public/private partnerships to build roads, schools and community amenities.

Kahli said his company reinvests some of the money it makes from its developments back into the community by opening its own businesses and encouraging its employees to become residents.

“We want to create more jobs in the project where people can live, work, learn and play,” he said, adding that his goal is to also make Avalon Park Daytona “a healthy community” that will have walking and bicycling trails as well as on-site medical services.

Kahli is a member of the board for AdventHealth Orlando.

“I think people (in America) spend way too much time in their cars,” he said. “My goal is if you don’t want to leave Avalon Park Daytona, you don’t have to.”

Albright said, “I think they (Avalon Park Group) are going to move pretty quickly (on developing Avalon Park Daytona). They’re very excited about it.”

Kahli said he met with Daytona Beach City Manager Jim Chisholm and other city officials on Monday to introduce himself and to fill them in on his vision for Avalon Park Daytona.

Albright has seen his company’s pending deals to sell the parcels on SR-40 fall apart earlier this year, including the proposed sales to ICI Homes, Minto and a mystery developer that briefly had the 1,618-acre parcel under contract after the Latitude Margaritaville developer backed out.

The Consolidated-Tomoka CEO said he is optimistic about the chances that the pending sale to Avalon Park Group/SitEx will actually go through.

“This is great because you don’t have two different developments competing and not talking to one another,” Albright said.

Albright said another chief difference this time around is that Avalon Park Group/SitEX “has its own capital” as opposed to having to secure financing from a third party.

Avalon Park Daytona gives us a high-quality development that’s comparable to what they (Avalon Park Group) have done in Orlando and Tampa in terms of the quality and thoughtfulness,” said Albright.

The News-Journal was unable to reach Daytona Beach city officials for comment.

Former Daytona Beach City Commercial Carl Lentz IV, now managing director of SVN Alliance Commercial Real Estate Advisors in Ormond Beach, said he believes the proposed Avalon Park Daytona has a good shot at getting approval from the city.

“The impact on the community at large will be minimalized by the fact that it will be sort of a one-stop community, with commercial, single-family homes, multifamily (residential units), daycare, churches and schools,” Lentz said.

“From what I understand they (Avalon Park Group) are also heavily focused on infrastructure,” he added.

The increase in county impact fees for new development as well as other infrastructure fees to help pay for new roads was one of the reasons mentioned by Minto officials in explaining their decision to drop plans to expand Latitude Margaritaville early this year.

The expansion would have doubled the size of Latitude Margaritaville and increased the number of homes it would have upon full build-out from 3,400 to 6,600. The fast-growing active adult community, which welcomed its first residents in March 2018, now has approximately 1,000 residents.

With the area’s existing roads becoming increasingly congested with traffic as the population continues to grow, Lentz said, “Infrastructure is critical for all our projects moving forward.”

Kahli said his company will “definitely be a player when it comes to improving the road network. ... We want to make sure that the traffic flows and that the schools are great.”

Kahli said he decided to pursue developing Avalon Park Daytona after learning of the site’s availability from Jeff Fuqua, the former board chairman of Consolidated-Tomoka, who has been a partner of his in several business ventures over the years.

“He (Fuqua) met me for breakfast and said it would be a perfect location for what we’re doing,” Kahli said.

“It’s along I-95, between Jacksonville and Palm Beach, which I consider to be a growth corridor,” he said.