Cottages at Daytona Beach will help housing shortage, but won’t add ‘affordable’ housing

DAYTONA BEACH — Construction work has begun on a new community here aimed at helping to alleviate the area’s housing shortage by offering single-family and duplex homes available to rent, as opposed to being available to purchase.

The planned 283-home “The Cottages at Daytona Beach” is the first of its kind in the area, according to John Albright, the CEO of CTO Realty Growth Inc. “We are excited to see thistype of high-quality single-family rental product coming to Daytona Beach,” he said.

The Cottages at Daytona Beach will help address the need for more available homes, but they won’t be cheap. Rental rates are expected in the $1,500-to-$2,000-a-month range.

“That’s not helping our area’s need for more affordable housing,” said Susanne Odena, a local Realtor who serves on the affordable housing advisory committees for both Daytona Beach and Volusia County. “It’s a big growing need that will become even greater when the eviction moratorium is lifted.”

The federal eviction moratorium is in effect until June 30.

“We plan to have the first homes ready for occupancy by October of this year,” said Davis Maxwell, vice president of development for Birmingham, Alabama-based Capstone Communities, the developer of The Cottages at Daytona Beach. “Rental rates have yet to be determined, but they will be in line with apartments in that area.”

Daytona Beach-based CTO sold the 30-acre site for $8.1 million late last year to Capstone. The Cottages at Daytona Beach is the developer’s first project in the Volusia-Flagler area. The site is on the west side of Williamson Boulevard on the southwest corner of where that road intersects with Strickland Range Road.

Capstone’s deal to buy the site was put together with help from Tim Davis, a commercial Realtor and partner at SVN Alliance Commercial Real Estate Advisors in Ormond Beach. Davis represented both the buyer and seller in the transaction.

The future Cottages at Daytona Beach is just north of Daytona State College’s Advanced Technology College. It’s in the heart of the city’s fast-growing LPGA area which has seen an explosion in new homes, luxury apartments and commercial development in recent years including the Tanger Outlets and Tomoka Town Center shopping centers and the massive Bucee’s superstore and 104-pump gas station that opened on March 22.

Despite the new homes and apartments, the pace of new construction activity has not been able to keep up with the demand as the Volusia-Flagler area continues to draw newcomers from other parts of the country. Area Realtors attribute the increased demand for housing in large part to the coronavirus pandemic as more people are relocating here from more densely populated big cities, both in the Northeast as well as South Florida.

The increased demand for housing has caused the inventory of available existing homes for sale to fall to record historic lows in recent months in both Volusia and Flagler counties, and prices have rapidly increased.

According to the most recent monthly home sales reports by both the Florida Realtors and Flagler County Association of Realtors, the supply of available homes in February is down to just 1.2 months, meaning that’s how long it would take for everything to be sold if no new listings were to come on the market.

“This is absolutely an answer to the housing shortage,” said Albright of the planned Cottages at Daytona Beach. “This will be something for those who aren’t ready yet to buy a home, but want a yard of their own and don’t want to live in a vertical housing apartment.”

Capstone’s website indicates Capstone specializes in student housing, but has also built a number of cottage-style developments across the country similar to the project planned for Daytona Beach.

“We’re very excited about coming to Daytona Beach,” said Maxwell. “The Cottages are designed to appeal to a wide range of people, from those moving to Daytona Beach and want to buy, but are not sure where yet, to people who work at one of the hospitals or in the insurance industry as well as to seniors.

“We’ll be offering both attached and detached units, each with its own fenced-in back yard and with smart home technology. We’ll also have a centralized clubhouse with amenities such as a fitness center, barbecue grills, fire pits and a swimming pool. It’s going to be a great step to home ownership.”

Documents submitted to the city’s Planning Board on Capstone’s behalf in October of last year show that The Cottages at Daytona Beach will include a 4,400-square-foot clubhouse and a large community pool. The community will include parking for 574 vehicles.

The homes will be one- and two-story, with the latter including a garage on the first floor, said Parker Mynchenberg, the principal at Parker Mychenberg & Associates, who did the civil engineering work for The Cottages at Daytona Beach. The community will offer homes with one, two and three bedrooms.

Homes in the project’s first phase are expected to be ready for occupancy this fall, said Mynchenberg. Representatives for the developers at the Planning Board meeting in October 2020 said units at The Cottages at Daytona Beach are expected to be available at “market rates” of approximately $1,500 to $2,000 a month. Rents will be comparable to rates charged at luxury apartment complexes in the area, they said.

Rental for units in the nearby Sands Parc Apartments on Williamson, just down the street from The Cottages at Daytona Beach, range from $1,160 to $2,344 a month. Units at the Tomoka Pointe Apartments on Williamson, behind Tomoka Town Center shopping center, range from $1,258 to $3,620 a month.

Michael Sznapstajler, a land-use attorney with Cobb Cole Law Firm in Daytona Beach, told Planning Board members that the units at The Cottages at Daytona Beach will be “smart homes” that will include WiFi as well as other amenities including a valet trash service.

The Daytona Beach City Commission unanimously approved the project in November 2020.

“We don’t have the right to reject projects just because they’re not affordable housing,” said Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry on Monday. “We approved Latitude Margaritaville and approved luxury apartments at the time. But everyone knows that affordable housing is our biggest priority. We need workforce housing that folks who earn $15 an hour can afford. Clearly, a community that charges $1,500 to $2,000 a month rents is not it.”