A section of the Volusia Mall in Daytona Beach would be razed and replaced with a luxury multifamily community under development plans recently submitted to the city.
Site plans filed to the city on July 22 call for the construction of a four-story, 350-unit gated apartment community in place of the former Macy’s and a section of parking lot at the backside of the mall on International Speedway Boulevard.
Jon Wood, senior managing director with Legacy Partners’ Maitland office, told GrowthSpotter the company has been eyeing mall redevelopment projects like this throughout the country. Recently, the developer completed the 350-unit Legacy Universal apartments on land once occupied by a dormant shopping center.
After another developer dropped out of this Volusia mall effort, Legacy reached out to the mall owner about the opportunity.
“We like Daytona Beach a lot,” Wood said. “It’s become a much more attractive market for new luxury apartment products, which is what attracted us to it. We saw other high-end luxury projects being developed there and doing really well with the lease-ups. We’ve been looking for opportunities there and we came upon this opportunity at the Volusia mall to buy the old Macy’s building and parking lot.”
Wood said it’s often difficult to get mall redevelopment projects like this to move forward because of reciprocal easement agreements that are in place between big box tenants and property owners. They are “typically restrictive” because you have to get everybody on board with modifying those documents, which covers aspects such as shared parking and shared access, Wood said.
In this case though, Volusia’s agreement had expired.
“That enabled us to come in and be able to redevelop this site without needing to get all of the parties on board to modify that document,” Wood said.
The site is located across from the Daytona Beach International Speedway, a short drive from its mixed-use entertainment site, One Daytona. It’s also a few miles from the beach and several college campuses, such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona State College and Bethune-Cookman University.
“We just love the location,” Wood said. “It’s really in the heart of Daytona Beach. We just feel like we are centrally located right in the middle of everything.”
The goal is to break ground by May of 2023, he said.
According to site plans, the residential building with interior hallways would span 424,219 square feet and include 20 studio apartments, 192 one-bed, one bath units, 118 two-bed, two bath units and 20 three-bedroom, two bath units.
Units would range in size from a minimum of 615 square feet for a studio apartment to a minimum of 1,391 square feet for a 3-bedroom living space.
Two courtyard/ amenity areas surrounded on all sides by apartment units and a clubhouse will be built into the middle of the building where a heated saltwater pool, cabanas and an outdoor kitchen with a gas grill will go. A 1,290-square-foot two-story sky lounge overlooking the two courtyard are will be built on the top two levels, site plans show.
The features of the sky lounge are still to be determined, Wood said. There are two sky lounges at Legacy Universal. One consists of a wellness lounge with a massage room and relaxation area, while the other holds a game room with pool, foosball, and poker tables.
The mall apartments will feature a large internet cafe where residents can work from home and enjoy a coffee bar.
The 10.7-acres of property will also feature a dog park and dog wash station. A walkway would connect a 545-space parking lot to the adjacent mall.
Among the more than 100 mall tenants at Volusia Mall is a J.C. Penny’s, three separate Dillard’s department stores — one for men, one for women and one for children — and an H&M clothing store.
The Macy’s location at the mall shuttered in January of 2021, one of the 45 that the department store chain closed nationwide during that quarter. Macy’s had been a tenant at the mall since the 1980′s.
It and a former Sears, which closed in 2019, currently sit vacant at the mall site.
CBL Properties owns and manages 95 properties totaling 59.6 million square feet across 24 states, including 57 high-quality enclosed malls, outlet centers and lifestyle retail centers as well as more than 30 open-air centers and other assets.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020, the company has recently been working to redevelop several of its assets in order to add value.
“Over the last several years, we have invested in our properties to transform vacant anchor space, underutilized parking lots, and land parcels into new, exciting uses that add value to our properties,” Stephen Lebovitz, chief executive officer, said in a July 13 news release. “During the first half of 2022, we celebrated the addition of new-to-market dining, entertainment, and retail options in locations across our portfolio.”
He added, “As we look ahead, we see considerable opportunity to add hotels, multi-family, entertainment, medical, restaurants, and other new uses at CBL properties.”
Wood said adding a luxury apartment component to a struggling mall property is a win-win for merchants and residents.
“It brings in a lot of residents with higher incomes and buying power who can support the mall and tenants,” he said. “And of course it’s nice for the residents because they don’t have to get in a car; they can literally walk across the parking lot and enter the mall and go shop and dine. It’s really beneficial both ways.”
Legacy Partners is a privately held real estate firm that owns, develops and manages multifamily communities throughout the United States. Since 1968, it has developed more than 66,000 apartment homes, according to its website.
Its Legacy Universal apartment community at 7420 Universal Blvd opened in 2021. Available units for rent range from $1,945 for a one-bedroom, one bath to $2,939 for a two-bedroom, two bath.