- September 18, 2019
Ormond Crossings, long billed as the future site for business and residential growth for Ormond Beach, has its first occupant. Security First Insurance had a Grand Opening event Nov. 14 for their new home, a gleaming 136,000-square-foot, four-story office building.
The building cost was $38.2 million, paid by Security First. The landowner, Tomoka Holdings, now owned by the Ford family of DeLand, paid about $2 million for infrastructure.
“That’s a tremendous investment in the future of Ormond Beach,” said Locke Burt, CEO and president.
And there’s still room for growth. The company bought 48 acres in 2017, and only 13 acres have been cleared. Melissa Burt DeVriese, Burt’s daughter and chief administrative officer and legal counsel, said this space could contain a campus of buildings someday.
City Economic Developer Brian Rademacher said the available space in Ormond Crossings is one of the attractions for development. Companies can buy as much land as they need for now and the future, rather than trying to fit into developed area.
The company received state and local incentives, including $280,000 from the city of Ormond Beach for creating new jobs.
“We pledged to create a minimum of 165 new jobs paying an average salary and benefits of $68,000,” Burt said at the Grand Opening. “To date we have created 200 new jobs with average salary and benefits of $73,000.”
After welcoming speeches at the Grand Opening, a large crowd, including local and county officials and many employees, had self-guided tours of the building along with hors d' oeuvres and refreshments. Ormond Crossings is located near the intersection of Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 and the entrance to Security First is Broadway Avenue.
Previously, some employees were located in Holly Hill, but now all 420 are located in one place, making Security First the largest employer in the city. Thirty more employees have been hired and will start in December, according to Burt.
Only 100,000 square feet of the building is occupied and the building has a potential for 700 employees
DeVriese called the Grand Opening a terrific day.
“We’ve moved into our new home,” she said. “Everyone is excited. It’s an open floor plan making it easy for people to work together.”
The building will withstand 165 mph winds, and has generator power and a self-contained water system so employees can begin work after a storm passes by.
Amenities include a walking trail, gym and yoga room.
The Burt family has been in the insurance business in Ormond Beach since 1959, when Locke Burt’s parents started an agency.
THE START OF SOMETHING BIG?
A recurring theme among those involved with Security First, as well as government staff and officials, is that the building will be a catalyst for growth in Ormond Crossings, a dream for development that began in 2002.
“We’re excited to see who our neighbors will be,” DeVriese said.
The Ford family purchased Tomoka Holdings three years ago, and many hoped would give new life to efforts to develop the land.
At the grand opening, Lisa Ford-Williams called the Security First development “phenomenal.” She said the owners are optimistic about more development because the economy in the area remains strong and they have seen interest.
Rademacher said he was not at liberty to talk about potential new occupants of the business park, but said he believes Security First will open up opportunities. For one thing, The building is visible from the interstate and will attract attention.
"I don't think they'll be alone for long," he said.
Ormond Crossings, 2,700 acres, is zoned a planned mixed-use development, featuring areas for a business park, lifestyle town center and a variety of residential neighborhoods.
Rademacher said the advantage to a business thinking of locating in the area is that no land use or zoning changes would be required.
The residential area would allow 2,900 single-family homes. Office space available is 900,000 square feet; industrial 800,000 square feet; warehouse 560,000 square feet; and retail 200,000 square feet.
The city is a partner with Tomoka Holdings, meaning that the two work together to fulfill the development goal.
The theory is that as businesses are built, retail and rooftops will follow.
“Economic growth is slow progress,” Rademacher said. “It doesn’t happen overnight.”
Rademacher said Ormond Crossings reflects a national trend toward self-contained residential areas, where people live, work and play.
The area that incorporates Ormond Crossings was platted in the early 1900s for dense residential lots within the jurisdiction of Volusia County. The City Commission and staff worked with the County Council and the property owner, Tomoka Holdings, to annex the property into the city in 2004. The city’s interest was to build a commerce park, according to a history on the city website. In 2010, the city approved a development agreement with Tomoka Holdings that outlines density, public facilities, etc. Complete information can be found at ormondbeach.org. Search for Ormond Crossings.
“That’s a tremendous investment in the future of Ormond Beach.”
LOCKE BURT, chairman and president, Security First