Neighbors had protested a zoning change that allowed the development.
A throng of business people, government leaders and others crowded the parking lot of “900 West” on Jan. 18 for five ribbon cuttings. Built last year at 900 W. Granada Blvd., the office plaza features five businesses.
Bill Navarra, real estate broker, built the 11,400-square-foot complex along with partner Buzzy Porter, and their Realty Pros Assured and Realty Pro Title offices hold the center position. The realty was previously at 1275 W. Granada Blvd.
Also located in the plaza are Eye Design Eyewear, Blossom Dental and BBMC Mortgage.
“It could not be better,” Navarra said about facility. “It’s the best location, with the best tenants, in the best city,” he said.
Ormond Beach Chamber President Debbie Cotton said it was an exciting day for Ormond Beach.
“It’s an asset to Granada Boulevard and sets a high standard for other businesses,” she said. “What an investment for the community.”
She referred to the décor of the office spaces as “edgy” and “trendy.”
Billie Jo Kaler, president of Realty Pros Title, said it was advantageous to build a new office building, because it helps to comply with new federal guidelines. For example, they now have more space to meet with clients and satisfy privacy requirements.
Dr. Huda Aljonaidy, of Blossom Dental, had “I am Wonder Woman” printed on the back of her clothes. She said she feels like Wonder Woman, now that she is starting her own business after working for other companies. She practices advanced dentistry.
Eye Design Eyewear offers complete vision care where Danny Marshall and Dr. Jason Iannarelli are partners.
“The location is awesome,” Marshall said. “We couldn’t be happier.”
BBMC Mortgage, an FDIC bank, offers “all kinds” of mortgages, according to banker Dwayne Hutto. For every mortgage, they donate $150 to Patriots Charity Initiative, he said. Also, there is no fee for veterans.
'I miss the woods terribly'
Carol Crone, who lives across Magnolia Drive from the development, moved to Ormond Beach 19 years ago after first checking Port Orange.
“We chose Ormond Beach because it was a slower pace, quiet and woodsy. It was great, but not anymore,” she said.
Crone and her neighbor have a view of the parking lot entrance from their front yard. The lot was previously wooded.
“It’s sad to have something commercial in a residential neighborhood,” she said. “It’s kind of weird to have our house right here.”
To develop the property commercially, the land owners had to have the land-use changed from “low density residential” to “residential, office, retail.” At Planning Board and City Commission meetings, residents of adjacent Magnolia Avenue protested, saying it would change the character of their street and increase traffic.
The change was ultimately approved, but developers apparently listened to residents’ concerns. To reduce traffic on Magnolia, they designed the traffic flow so there is only an entrance into the plaza from Magnolia. Traffic must exit onto Granada Boulevard.
“That was a good compromise,” said Magnolia Avenue resident Pam Skilling. “I think they want to be good neighbors.”
There is a six-foot wall, landscaping and a sidewalk between the development and Magnolia Avenue and Skilling said the lighting at night is low.
Skilling and Crone agree that the building and landscaping are attractive. Skilling said the traffic has been quiet, pointing out that the businesses are not high-volume.
But the woods that once occupied the 1.5 acre lot are gone.
“There’s no shade. The sun comes blasting in,” Crone said. “Having the woods was wonderful.”
Skilling agrees, saying, “I miss the woods terribly.”