In 1887, Ormond Beach pioneers John Anderson and Joseph Price built the Ormond Hotel, topping it off with its signature cupola.
Now, 136 years later, a second cupola, paying tribute to the original, has been unveiled.
The Lohman family celebrated a topping off ceremony for its luxury townhome development at 100 N. Halifax Drive, called The Cupola at Oceanside, on Thursday, Nov. 30. Local philanthropist Nancy Lohman said it was her family's privilege and honor to recognize the history of Ormond Beach with their development.
"Nearly 150 years later and we're still celebrating the fact that Ormond Beach has remained for many, many years, our sparkling city by the sea," Lohman said. "It's just our pleasure to continue to treasure our city and it's our hope that you feel that we brought another beautiful gemstone to our city."
The Lohmans — Nancy, husband Lowell, son Ty and daughter-in-law Tovah — broke ground on their gated townhome development in 2021. The Cupola at Oceanside is composed of 12 luxury two-story units all over 3,200 square feet built by Bomar Construction Inc. Each of the units offers three bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and a two- or three-car garage. Five have already been sold.
According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, the remaining units cost $925,000 each.
The Lohmans purchased the property at 100 N. Halifax Drive for $800,000 in May 2021 from its original developer, Ed Schwarz, who had been working on developing the property for a few years. The Lohmans were on their way back from a wedding in Jacksonville when they started talking about how they missed being in business as a family — the family owned Lohman Funeral Homes until 2012.
When asked by her family what she was looking to do, Nancy Lohman said she wanted to do an "A-plus project." And she had her eye on Schwarz's townhome development.
"I was your biggest cheerleader and now I see it," she told Schwarz at the ceremony. "And I know how right you were with this design."
Len Marinaccio, owner of Bomar Construction, said that the family business aspect was an important aspect of the project.
"One of the things that we all talked about in the beginning how much they wanted to work together to create a great project, and we're just incredibly honored to be able to be a part of it," Marinaccio said.
The Cupola at Oceanside marks the first multifamily residential development constructed on the beachside in more than 25 years.
Mayor Bill Partington said he was excited about the development when Schwarz proposed it to the City Commission in 2017. The property formerly housed a church.
"[The project] made so much sense and it checked off so many boxes in what you consider to be smart growth — the concepts of smart growth," Partington said. "... But then when the Lohmans took it over, it just turned into a fantastic project because I knew that they were going to do everything first class and incorporate the history of the area into this project."
On smart growth, Partington said the infill development fosters walkability to the downtown, creates a sense of place, directs development toward existing public facilities and promotes a compact building design.
Partington also stressed the synergy of the area, with the townhome's proximity to the newly renovated Ormond Memorial Arts Museum, The Casements and Oceanside Country Club.
"This is not sprawl," Partington said. "This is not growth that's occurring at our borders and taking down new land. This is exactly what we want as a city — Projects that don't have huge impacts but create exceptional opportunities for new residents who live in them."
Buzzy Porter, of Realty Pros Assured, thanked the Lohmans for trusting the real estate company to sell the units.
"If you've seen Nancy in the last two years, this has been her baby," Porter said.
Bill Zirkelbach, of Seacoast Bank, said that, when they began the project, issues such as supply chain shortages and the pandemic were still prevalent. The Lohmans soldiered on.
"The Lohmans still had the vision to move forward with this project when many people were pulling back and being very conservative," he said.
The Cupola at Oceanside has "been a dream come true" for the family, Nancy Lohman said.
Lowell Lohman looked at all the attendees during the ceremony and said it was "unbelievable" to see how many people came out in support. He recalled that day the family drove to the wedding, and his son's words on the way back home.
"He said, 'I have never seen Nancy this excited about a project,'" he recalled.