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St. Cloud Florida Volusia 11,000  
Oak Hill, Florida 32759
Tallwood Dr, Deltona, Florida 32738
Volusia 22,500
Lake Harney Rd, Osteen, Florida 32764 Volusia Make an offer
Pierson , Florida 32180 Volusia Make an offer
20th St, Orange City, Florida 32763 Volusia 9,500 1452
Old Daytona Rd, DeLand, Florida Volusia 21,000 678
DeLeon Springs, Florida 32130 Volusia 3,000
W Cooper Dr, Deltona, Florida 32725 Volusia 27,000 1706
S Summit Ave, Lake Helen, Florida 32744 Volusia 22,000 1704
Bentley Ct, Deltona, Florida 32738 Volusia 27,600 1502
 Florentine St, Deltona, Florida 32738 Volusia 12,000 1705
W International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, Florida Volusia 6,500
460 Fox Squirrel Dr, Deltona, Florida 32725 Volusia 49,000
Carmen Ave, Orange City, Florida 32763 Volusia Make an offer
Ernest Dr, Port Orange, Florida 32127 Volusia 90,000 1675
Mitnik Drive, Deltona, Florida 32738 Volusia Make an offer
Redman Circle  Volusia SOLD
Benson Junction Lane Volusia SOLD
Cinnamon Fern Lane Volusia SOLD
Sonnet Court  Volusia SOLD
Ernest Dr  Volusia SOLD
Stillwater Ave Volusia SOLD



Housing starts on the rise in Volusia, Flagler counties

Permits for new homes in Volusia, Flagler on pace to be most in years


Workers for Port Oange-based Platinum Building and Remodeling construct a house in the Arbor Lakes section of the Venetian Bay master-planned community in New Smyrna Beach. NEWS-JOURNAL/BOB KOSLOW

Published: Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 2:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 2:13 p.m.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH — Paul Rechichar, owner of Platinum Building and Remodeling in Port Orange, said his company is the busiest it's been in years.

The Port Orange-based builder is juggling several projects in the Venetian Bay master-planned community in New Smyrna Beach.

Rechichar is preparing to build three unsold homes on the last lots in Arbor Lakes and has a couple of upscale houses under construction in Portofino Estates. He’s also planning to build about 75 townhomes in East Fountains and just committed to buy 89 lots in Verano, a new 191-lot subdivision where land clearing is underway.

“I feel good about the future so we are buying land,” he said. “With interest rates sitting so low that helps a lot. People are able to afford to buy more expensive homes.”

Rechichar is not the only homebuilder scrambling to keep up with demand.

Through the first nine months of this year, homebuilders in Volusia and Flagler counties were issued more home construction permits than during the same time last year.

“We are seeing more people, more traffic and buyers. That means more houses are needed and with a limited inventory of resales that makes new homes a viable option,” said Mark Bines, a vice president with Kolter Homes, which is building homes in the Victoria Park master-planned community in DeLand.

From January through the end of September, homebuilders in Volusia were issued 948 single-family homebuilding permits, according to DeBary-based HBW Inc., which has collected permit data for the Volusia Building Industry Association since 2011.

That’s up 3 percent from the 321 permits issued over the same period a year ago.

It’s also the highest level for the first nine months since 2008, when 972 permits were issued, according to the Volusia County Economic Development Division, which is set to report its own permit numbers for new homes at its Nov. 6 quarterly economic update breakfast. The county's permit numbers typically differ slightly from HBW's, but generally show the same trends.

In Flagler County, homebuilders pulled 430 single-family homebuilding permits through the first nine months of the year, according to the Flagler Home Builders Association. That’s up 7.5 percent from the 400 permits issued a year ago.

It’s also the highest number of permits issued in Flagler County for the first nine months since 2006 when 1,280 permits were issued. It’s also the sixth straight year-over-year increase.

“Now we have a number of years of consecutive growth,” said Jason DeLorenzo, government affairs director at the Flagler Home Builders Association. “Certainly the economy is better. We have more people working in Flagler County than ever before. People have money. All that gets people into new homes.”

Permits are usually issued 30 to 60 days after a buyer has signed a contract for a new home.

A factor that helped increase summer permit numbers, DeLorenzo said, included homebuilders pushing through homebuilding applications to beat a July 1 deadline. That’s when a building code went into effect that featured new and costly energy efficiency standards.

In Volusia County, permits averaged almost 116 a month in April through August. That fell to 89 permits in September.

Flagler County saw a similar rise and dip. Permits averaged more than 52 a month in April through July, but fell to 35 in August and 36 in September.

Builders at the last minute secured a year’s delay in two controversial standards — blower door tests that evaluate the tightness of a house and mechanical air makeup that requires more outside fresh air be brought into the house because they have become so tight, said Jake Hickson, a principal in Hickson Construction in New Smyrna Beach.

“Some builders I talked to did push through some (permits), but they were mostly for specs,” Hickson said.

Rechichar said he’s building more specs — houses built without an immediate buyer — because of the increased sales pace and because some customers don’t want to wait to have one built. A spec house built some months ago may also be less expensive than one just signed for because of regular rising material and labor costs, he said.

Rechichar also noted that potential buyers have more options than a year or two ago because more home lots are being created in new subdivisions and new phases are being added to existing communities.

“Lower rates keep people aggressive and the fear of the rates going up has them buying now,” Hickson said. “There is also continued pent-up demand. People want the new designs and still want to retire in Florida.”

Expanding in DeLand: Frontier Communications to add hundreds of jobs by year's end


Employees work at Frontier Communications' recently added second location in DeLand. PHOTO COURTESY JERAMEY RICE/FRONTIER SECURE

Published: Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 5:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 10:31 a.m.

DELAND — Salvador Valdivia started in 2008 at Frontier Communications Corp. in DeLand as a 19-year-old answering customer service calls to help pay for college.

Now, he’s an operations manager.

“We make sure there’s opportunity for the agents to grow and develop here as a career, too,” the 26-year-old said. “So it’s not just another call center job, but it’s a place that they can really become experts at what they do and grow in the business.”

The Norwalk, Connecticut-based company allowed Valdivia to grow in his career, and now its DeLand operation is in the midst of a significant expansion.

The company's customer call center at 1398 S. Woodland Blvd. was already home to approximately 1,100 workers. The company plans to add nearly 500 new jobs locally and has made a $2.5 million investment in a second location here: a former Food Lion grocery store at the northwest corner of North Woodland Boulevard and International Speedway Boulevard, four miles from its existing call center.

Four hundred of the new jobs will be for Frontier Secure, a unit of Frontier Communications that has security software and additionally handles technical support calls for Frontier Communications and other clients. It will occupy the new 32,000-square-foot space.

Kelly Morgan, senior vice president for Frontier Secure, said about 150 new hires have been made and the goal is to reach the 400 new hires by the end of the year.

Frontier opened its call center in DeLand in 2006. That 80,000-square-foot facility is now filled to capacity, according to Morgan.

“A lot of these jobs are tech support, which is when you think about the work, it requires more technical capability,” he said.

Morgan said he knows of at least 4,000 to 5,000 applications being received for the new positions in DeLand.

“It’s gotten really difficult to get into Frontier,” he said.

In addition to leasing more space, Frontier has invested in renovations and new equipment for its DeLand operations, Morgan said.

“It’s actually very modern, very current,” he said. “It’s got a lot of investment, all new furniture, new everything.”

The other hires come on Frontier Communications’ customer service side for its broadband, television, landline telephone and video operation, according to Donna Loffert, vice president of residential sales and service. Sixty workers have already been hired, but 30 more are expected to be hired by the end of the year, she said.

Those hires, for the old location, come as the entire company experiences growth with its planned acquisition of Verizon home services including video, broadband and landline telephone service in Florida, California and Texas, she said.

Loffert said the company has received at least 1,200 applications for her positions.

The transformation is already quite visible at the new location: the plaza — which is also home to Goodwill and Sonny’s BBQ — has a full parking lot and inside the new facility balloons float from desks recognizing employee achievement.

The balloons are only one part of Frontier’s culture, which also includes dress-up days with themes like disco day, according to Valdivia.

Morgan said the company is able to attract and retain talent based on its culture. He said just under 70 percent of new hires come from referrals.

“We really care about our employees,” he said. “We work hard for them, we’re here for them, we take care of them, and in return we expect them to take care of the customers.”

The DeLand operation’s success is one of the reasons for the expansion, Morgan said.

“It really comes down to our ability to find the right talent," he said. "We’ve had a lot of success here.”

Partnerships with local leaders also played a role, Morgan said. The Volusia County Council granted $60,000 to the company as part of the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program.

CareerSource Florida also offered the company performance-based grants for employee training.

While Morgan declined to disclose wages, an April 16 Volusia County memo states the company “is considering the creation of 100 new-to-Florida jobs at an average salary of $38,606.”

The company’s training includes four weeks of classroom time and two to four weeks of on-floor training, senior trainer Jennifer Fantone said.

Morgan said the company has had success hiring people who have empathy and can relate to customers.

“You can teach people how to be technical, you can’t teach people how to showcase empathy,” Morgan said. “It’s hard to teach people how to relate to people, how to interact with people.”

Nick Conte Jr., executive director of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce & Orange City Alliance, said Frontier draws employees from not only DeLand, but from other parts of west Volusia County as well as neighboring Lake and Seminole counties. He fully expects the company to continue to grow and experience an influx of workers from the Daytona Beach area.

He added the new location puts one of the city’s largest employers in one of its gateways.

“That’s a really nice signal,” he said.

Those interested in jobs can go to


Gov. Scott to announce 100 new jobs in Daytona Beach

Logistics company has 3,200 employees nationwide

Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 7:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 1:31 p.m       

Gov. Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott will be in Daytona Beach Thursday to announce the opening of a transportation logistics firm that could bring 100 new jobs to the community.

Scott will hold a 10 a.m. press conference in Daytona Beach to talk about the arrival of Total Quality Logistics, a Cincinnati-based company with more than 3,200 employees nationwide. The governor's office provided no other details, but Volusia County Director of Economic Development Rob Ehrhardt said the company is planning to create 100 new jobs at an average salary of $38,606 per year, above the countywide average of $33,570. 

The Volusia County Council agreed this summer to participate in the state's Qualified Target Industry tax refund program for Total Quality Logistics. The performance-based incentive would provide the company $3,000 per job created, up to a maximum of $300,000, with the county contributing 20 percent of the incentive and the state providing the rest.  

Founded in 1997, TQL works as an intermediary between trucking companies and independent owner/operators and companies needing to transport products. According to the company's website, TQL has offices across the country with Florida locations in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa.

TQL works with more than 50,000 carriers across North America that help move more than 600,000 loads a year. Commodities that are moved include fresh fruits, vegetables, packaged foods, beverages, meat and poultry, machinery and equipment, according to the website.

Scott's appearance will be at a Wells Fargo branch location at 130 North Ridgewood Ave. The business is expected to be located in office space at the back of the building, said Jim Cameron, vice president of government relations for the Daytona Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Messages left with Total Quality Logistics’ media relations office were not returned.

Consolidated-Tomoka reports transactions

Published: Monday, September 28, 2015 at 1:36 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 28, 2015 at 1:36 p.m.

DAYTONA BEACH — Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. announced that it has received a $1.4 million lease payment from Kerogen Florida Energy Co. on 25,200 acres the Daytona Beach-based real estate development and investment company owns in Hendry County. The acreage is being leased by Kerogen for oil exploration.



LPGA, other roads eyed for upgrades in long-range plan

Long-range plan includes widenings, interchange improvements

IImprovements may be coming to the LPGA Boulevard interchange on Interstate 95. The 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan, expected to be approved later this month, calls for a wider bridge and a new interchange aimed at accommodating expected growth. News-Journal/David Tucker

Published: Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 7:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 11, 2015 at 9:00 p.m.

DAYTONA BEACH — LPGA Boulevard's imperfections include a bottleneck at Derbyshire Road, backups at Williamson Boulevard and the challenge of safely crossing it on Tomoka Farms Road.

Don Young, a courtesy driver for Fields BMW of Daytona at the Daytona Auto Mall, probably knows the road as well as anybody.

Now with plans for a $100 million outlet mall off LPGA east of Interstate 95 and a 3,000-home community, west of the interstate, for residents 55 and older, Young has a prediction: "It's only gonna get worse."

LPGA is one of dozens of roads slated for improvements in the next few years, and it certainly got the attention of Lois Bollenback and her team as they attempted to set priorities for Volusia and Flagler counties through year 2040.

When Bollenback, executive director of the River-to-Sea Transportation Planning Organization, started on the plan two years ago, LPGA Boulevard looked much the same as it had before the Great Recession.

There had not yet been an announcement about the Trader Joe's distribution center nearby off Williamson Boulevard. There was nothing public yet about the Tanger Outlet Mall and nothing about Minto Communities' 1,600-acre development for residents 55 and older.

Bollenback noted these developments, but said in the long run they weren't surprising.

"We believe there needed to be improvements before those projects were coming simply because of the tremendous development potential," she said.

Bollenback and the TPO board were able to account for those changes in the 25-year plan now expected to be approved Sept. 23. Projects listed as part of the plan call for improvements at several stretches of LPGA:

* Its interchange with I-95 will be improved between Williamson Boulevard and a future Tymber Creek extension, west of the interstate. That will likely include a new bridge because the current decking cannot accommodate a widening, Bollenback said.

* It will be widened to four lanes between Jimmy Ann and Derbyshire roads, where motorists now encounter a bottleneck.

* It will be widened to three lanes between Nova Road and U.S. 1.

Those projects will require funding, which complicates the question of how soon the work will be done.

The section between Williamson and Tymber Creek qualifies for federal funds as part of the I-95 interchange improvements, Bollenback said, but the other sections are considered local projects falling on Volusia County, which is facing a serious shortage of funds.

County officials have announced they are planning to move forward with the section between Jimmy Ann and Derbyshire as soon as next month, but extending the widening east to U.S. 1 could have to wait.

They are taking steps toward asking voters in 2016 to approve a half-penny sales tax to help provide more funding for transportation projects.

Meanwhile, even more intense development could come to the LPGA-Williamson area.

John Albright, president and CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co., said the company has done a state-required plan for large-scale development on its land in west Daytona Beach, called a development of regional impact.

Albright said improving LPGA and I-95, in particular, is critical.

"That, to me, is going to be a very high priority to allow Daytona Beach to continue growing and attracting investment and companies and residential development. I would think that is a high priority — to get Daytona Beach's population decline reversed and back on a growth trajectory."

But the road improvements may bring some unintended consequences.

Daytona Beach City Commissioner Rob Gilliland, a member of the TPO board, said he is concerned that one project on the list — the four-laning of Williamson Boulevard north of LPGA to Hand Avenue — could result in even more traffic flowing to LPGA.

"Once you get that completed, is that going to bring an additional volume of traffic to LPGA, people trying to avoid the quagmire in front of the Super Wal-Mart in Ormond (just east of I-95 on State Road 40)?" Gilliland said.

The Williamson widening, expected to cost at least $10 million, is a local project and would be funded primarily by Volusia County, which asked for and received $2.5 million from the state Legislature. But Gov. Rick Scott vetoed that line, saying in a memo it circumvented a state evaluation process.

The 25-year plan includes projects that ultimately will be doable and others that might not receive funding.

For instance, at many meetings leading up to the creation of the plan, there was wide support for increasing transit — expanding the SunRail commuter rail line east of DeBary and adding Votran buses — as well as putting more funds into bike paths and lanes, and sidewalks.

But while some federal funds are available for purchasing equipment, the operational cost of transit falls mainly on the backs of local governments, which say they don't have more money.

"If we want to expand transit, we have to figure out a way to do that locally," Bollenback said. "It's not a simple answer. It's a situation where cities are planning for a future more reliant on transit, and the county doesn't have the resources to pay for it."

Local municipalities are also struggling to maintain the roads they already have. Funding fixes to the existing road network has largely been left to the gas tax, which, adding federal, state and county together, is 55 cents for every gallon of gas sold in Volusia County and 50 cents in Flagler County.

Gilliland said it costs Daytona Beach $2 million annually to maintain its roads, but the city only collects $700,000 in gas taxes, and that number has fallen because consumers are buying less gas.

"It's less than half of what we need," he said.

Despite those challenges, TPO Board Chairman Pat Patterson, a Volusia County councilman, said the 2040 plan anticipates and will help shape growth in the community.

Part of the state's plan to add toll lanes to Interstate 4 into Southwest Volusia includes funding to extend Rhode Island Avenue from Orange City into Deltona. That would add a new interchange, Patterson said, which could encourage long-sought commercial development on both sides of I-4.

Another project listed is the widening of State Road 100 to six lanes between Old Kings Road and Belle Terre Parkway in Flagler County, some $66.6 million forecast to be done sometime after 2031.

"There's a lot of exciting things in this plan for 2040," Patterson said. "I'll be 87 years old, and I might be dead by then, but I care a lot."