Miami Corp. project moving forward in south Volusia County

Posted on February 18, 2017

Once referred to as the “sleeping giant,” the Miami Corp. continues putting pieces into place for eventual development of thousands of acres it owns in southern Volusia County.

In recent weeks, the city of Edgewater agreed to annex part of the company’s land and approved an interlocal agreement governing its long-term development. That agreement with Volusia County was approved by the County Council unanimously on Thursday. 

The agreement requires the city to ensure all the obligations and requirements of the Farmton local plan are met as development moves forward. A long-term land-use blueprint adopted by Volusia and Brevard counties in 2011, the Farmton plan governs 90 square miles the company owns in the two counties.

Meanwhile, county officials are nearing the point of opening public access to 1,400 acres of conservation land the company deeded to the county in 2013. And the company is pursuing plans for a new interchange at Maytown-Osteen Road and Interstate 95.

Miami Corp. began piecing together its holdings in Volusia in the 1920s, eventually amassing more than 59,000 acres in Volusia and Brevard counties it used mainly for timber farming and hunting. The Chicago-based, family-owned holding company launched the effort to develop the long-term plan and protect its development rights in 2007-2008, with the first approval coming from Volusia in 2009.

The Farmton local plan designated 15,081 acres in Volusia County for development, with up to 23,100 residential units and 4.7 million square feet of commercial, office and industrial space. The plan set aside 31,876 acres for conservation. Another 9,000 acres of the company’s land in Brevard County was deeded to conservation.

But the first property Miami Corp. aims to make available for development isn't part of the Farmton plan. It’s an 850-acre, mixed-use development once known as Reflections. The company bought the land a few years ago and renamed the project Deering Park Center.

“It’s annexed (by the city of Edgewater), zoned and all the comprehensive land use plan changes are done,” said local land use attorney Glenn Storch, who has represented Miami Corp. for more than 25 years. The land, west of Interstate 95 and north of O Possum Camp Road, could include commercial, residential and potentially light industry. City water and sewer lines already have been connected to the development.

Miami Corp. is “getting it ready for the market,” Storch said. A community development district has been created for the property and will be used to help pay the cost of extending Edgewater’s Indian River Boulevard into the project.

The first portion of Farmton land allowed to be developed is a section called “The Gateway.” The roughly 800-acres is directly south of Deering Park across the road, which will become Indian River Boulevard.

The interlocal agreement will allow the city to approve development, but “everything has to be in compliance” with the Farmton plan, said Deputy County Attorney Jamie Seaman.

“We are not relinquishing any authority,” Seaman said. “Those are promises the County Council and the county made to the public when Farmton was approved."

Now that the interlocal agreement has been approved, the city will annex about a quarter of the Gateway. All of the Gateway is within the city’s utility service area.

The Farmton plan allowed development to start on the land as early as 2017, but Storch said the company doesn’t see any development taking place at this point.

Edgewater Mayor Mike Ignasiak sees the land as the "future of Edgewater." 

"You’re talking about going in there where nothing exists and you can plan everything," Ignasiak said. "We’re excited about it."

No development can start on the rest of the Farmton property between Osteen and Oak Hill until 2026.

However, the public will soon be able to launch kayaks for the first time on Deep Creek, in a conservation area the company donated to the county called the Deering Preserve, just east of Osteen. 

The area's transportation planning organization recently agreed to add a proposed interchange at Osteen-Maytown Road, a measure supported by the cities of Edgewater and Oak Hill, Storch said. The permitting process for that interchange, which the company is obligated to pay for, is expected to take up to 10 years.


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