BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Developers requesting $20 million in taxpayer-funded infrastructure for One Daytona received the green light at last week’s Daytona Beach city commission meeting. The group also received $20 million from the county.
The resolution approving the funding is for the project proposed by Jacoby Development and International Speedway Corporation for the One Daytona Mixed-Use Project across from the Daytona International Speedway racetrack. The development is supposed to offer a premier entertainment, dining and retail destination for tourists and locals alike.
“A lot of people don’t understand the scale,” explained Brian Leary, managing director of Jacoby Development, Inc. “We will start this summer and you will see buildings coming in early next year.’’
Water show, theater
The venture will be heavy on entertainment, Leary explained, naming parts of it an outdoor living room, featuring a water show with fountains choreographed to music and a 12-screen movie theater on site.
“To get off I-95 and see the World Center of Racing, living here we take it for granted.
What they are doing to it now, we won’t take it for granted anymore. The gateway to our community is being completely redefined,” Zone 1 Commissioner Carl W. Lentz IV said before the Daytona Beach City Commission voted 7-0 yes to the funding.
Thousands of jobs
“Tonight we have an opportunity that will complement the Daytona Rising and extend tourist stays and year-round entertainment. Thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in new labor income and new taxes going to city and county,” Lisa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation, said to Daytona Beach commissioners at their March 5 meeting.
“The time is now. Daytona Rising will open in 2016. We feel that One Daytona should open at the same time. It needs to happen all at the same time.”
One Daytona is a multi-use construction project across from the Speedway while Daytona Rising is a project at the Speedway. The Speedway describes Daytona Rising as a “$400 million reimagining of an American icon.’’
At the conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will have approximately 101,000 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands. In addition, the Speedway will feature over 60 luxury suites with trackside views and a completely revamped hospitality experience for corporate guests, according to the Speedway’s website.
The project officially broke ground in early July 2013 and is expected to be completed in time for the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and Daytona 500.
‘No upfront risk’
Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry explicitly wanted the public to understand that the $20 million of taxpayer money for the Speedway’s One Daytona project would not be taken immediately out of the budget.
“We are not taking $20 million dollars today and handing it to the Speedway. That is not what is taking place. We don’t want residents to feel as though they are here as parasites, but as investors. No one has proven their investment in this community like the Speedway Corporation. They announced Daytona Rising and they went to work.”
The city stands to gain about $19 million with the 30-year agreement. There will be $2 million in impact fees paid up front and later returned as a grant.
“There is no upfront risk,” Commissioner Kelly White explained. “Once the $18 million is paid, it’s over.”
Minorities, women, jobs
Daytona Rising is set to bring 4,000 construction jobs, more than 4,000 permanent jobs and $171 million in direct revenue to the county and the city over the next 30 years.
Some citizens asked if an effort to include Blacks in the hiring process would be made.
Commissioner Paula Reed added that minority and women incentives also were her concern.
The mayor implored the Speedway to take into serious account that 40 percent of the community is Black and more than 50 percent are women.
“The great challenge I leave you all with is to go beyond reaching out. Go in and try to dig out and inspire and bring in more minority and women to benefit from this. You have proven over the years that you can meet far greater challenges,’’ he said.
Willing to go the distance
“I told Paula that we would like to work on that; her comment was spot on,” Kennedy shared with the Daytona Times after the meeting.
“We haven’t nailed down the actual partnerships, but we are committed to working a fully fledged out program and partnership with Dr. (Edison) Jackson and the college (Bethune-Cookman University) and Dr. (Carol) Eden at Daytona State College,” Leary of Jacoby Development added.
“Lesa will also be working with one of our tenants that is coming in to talk about women’s leadership. We are working on a lot of really exciting things.”