Great Story that has finally broke. I really have little to add that the media hasn’t covered already. Feel free to call or email me if you have any other questions.
On Friday, a day after Hard Rock International went public with plans to build one of its hotels on the city’s oceanfront, anyone wondering what sort of impact the new development will have on the beachside would have gotten part of the answer sitting in a local real estate executive’s office.
By the end of the workday, Tim Davis, vice president of investment sales for Coldwell Banker Commercial in Ormond Beach, was phone weary.
“Everybody who ever inquired about oceanfront land called today,” Davis said late Friday afternoon. “All the calls start with, ‘is there anything available across the street from the Hard Rock site?’ “
The barrage of calls to Davis — whose company brokered the sale of the 10-acre parcel on S.R. A1A that will become home to the Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach by early 2016 — is exactly what local leaders were hoping to see.
They’re expecting the Hard Rock’s 375,000-square-foot development complete with a Hard Rock Café to be a game changer for the beachside, a catalyst that will create about 300 jobs and spur new restaurants, shops, nightclubs, additional hotels and conventions.
Reed Berger, the city government’s redevelopment director, said businesses thinking about making an investment are going to start asking, “Why aren’t we there?”
“Sometimes it takes a Joe’s Crab Shack and a Hard Rock Hotel to get everyone’s attention,” said Berger, who expects the city to get good mileage out of articles in trade publications that will be announcing Hard Rock’s plans. “I don’t think there’s any question that we’re definitely at a turning point.”
“I think it can be an incredible catalyst for us,” agreed Ocean Center Director Don Poor, who likened the new hotel to a strong anchor in a fledgling mall. “It has all the potential in the world to help our area. It’s a powerful brand name everyone recognizes.”
Even behind-the-scenes whispering about Hard Rock coming to town that started before this week’s public acknowledgement had already drummed up interest, said City Manager Jim Chisholm.
An upscale hotel chain started checking out Daytona Beach earlier this year after it caught wind of Hard Rock putting down roots on the World’s Most Famous Beach, Chisholm said. The city manager expects more high-end hotels to follow.
“The confidence of the Hard Rock to attract higher-class clientele helps attract other high-end hotels,” Chisholm said. “Because of the Hard Rock we’ll get more hotels in a number of open properties.”
Daytona Beach has long had the reputation of being a more moderately priced vacation destination, but the upscale hotel and the Hard Rock could be the beginning of the city also attracting “a higher tier of the market,” Chisholm said.
The upscale facilities will also provide new options for wealthier visitors coming to events such as the Daytona 500, he said.
Sean Snaith, a University of Central Florida economics professor, said the Hard Rock might even reel in visitors who might not have chosen Daytona Beach in the past.
“It diversifies your tourism base,” Snaith said.
He also sees it pulling in new businesses.
“If you get a Hard Rock it sends a signal about the region’s economy,” he said.
He also agrees with city leaders that it could become a destination in and of itself, especially if plans come together for a Hard Rock Live concert venue on site.
HARD ROCK COMES AT RIGHT TIME
After years of things going wrong for Daytona Beach — the 2004 hurricanes battering beachside properties, a pair of developers who once held 35 beachfront hotels going bankrupt and the economy crashing — things are starting to go the city’s way, Chisholm said.
“Property values here are reasonable, the economy is pumping again and people are looking for places to put their money,” Chisholm said.
And it doesn’t hurt to be able to say a worldwide chain of nearly 200 music-inspired hotels, cafes, casinos and concert venues located everywhere from Biloxi to Bali chose your city for a $100-million-plus investment.
Investors and developers interested in property right next to or in front of the new Hard Rock will be disappointed to know that Bayshore Capital, the Toronto-based developer that bought the 10-acre Hard Rock site at 801 S. Atlantic Ave., has already purchased much of the available property in the immediate area.
Bayshore bought a lot with a home on it just north of the new hotel site, and several commercial properties across the street, Davis said. There is still one small commercial lot available on the west side of A1A, he said.
There are other properties available along other stretches of A1A, and local leaders are hoping they’re snatched up one by one by developers who want to open new businesses that will complement not only the Hard Rock, but also a Russian company’s oceanfront hotel condo project at Oakridge Boulevard and the Ocean Center.
Poor has high hopes for what the Hard Rock can do for his sprawling building. Although the Ocean Center is located several blocks to the north, he foresees getting a shuttle service going for conventioneers.
The 250 hotel rooms the Hard Rock plans will help get the beachside closer to the 2,000 quality rooms Poor has been saying are vital for large conventions. With some 500 rooms expected from the Russian project that’s slated to break ground this summer, and the 744 at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, that 2,000 mark is within reach now.
With 100 condos also planned for the new Hard Rock complex, Poor pointed out that those new permanent residents will create demand for higher-end shops and restaurants.
A1A RIPPLE EFFECT
Berger said the Hard Rock will provide one more sought after push to mobilize a planned entertainment district around the Ocean Center dubbed the e-zone. He foresees improvements to neighborhoods and new businesses moving in along both the south and north ends of A1A.
“I expect A1A will be the beneficiary, not just the immediate property,” Berger said.
Because the Hard Rock is locating in the South Atlantic Redevelopment Area, Berger anticipates the new hotel bolstering the tapped out community redevelopment area fund there that dried up during the economic crash.
Some of those CRA dollars could help the Hard Rock in deals still to be worked out with the city, but some will also help the neighborhood, he said.
Davis, the Coldwell Banker official, said he got “five solid leads” out of his calls from hotel developers and speculators on Friday. City officials now hope they can parlay those queries into more development that will keep the beachside roll going.
Nelson Parker, senior director of development for Hard Rock International, said his company has looked at Daytona Beach over the years but until recently didn’t find the right situation.
When Bayshore Capital came to Hard Rock with the idea about a year ago, things gradually fell into place, Parker said. Hard Rock International is in a growth phase, proposing several new locations, and has had three record earnings years in a row, he said.
“The timing and the group’s vision appealed to us and met our expectations,” said Parker, who works out of corporate offices in Orlando. “There’s also been an enormous amount of momentum in the city and the city government has been wonderful to work with. I also love the location. It was ideal with the large assembly of land near International Speedway Boulevard.”