Economic Yearbook 2006 - Space Coast
A Surge in Interest
Floida's Space Coast increasingly draws new residents from within the state.
Developer Felix Amon is planning projects in Daytona Beach and other parts of the state valued at $6 billion.
Bringing in Talent
? Felix Amon and Amon Investments are developing luxury condominiums and large- scale, mixed-use projects valued at $6 billion from Daytona Beach to Tampa. Austrian-born Amon worked for pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly when he visited Daytona on business in 1988 and fell in love with the beach. He invested in real estate there, buying about 35 properties, and moved to Daytona in 1999 to set up his own company to manage them. Amon owns several ReMax franchises and has grown the business from six employees to 155, including his wife, Ursula, who is CFO. "We try to bring in talent from all over the world," Amon says. Some of the employees were from Florida; others came from the Northeast, Colorado and California. The management team is from Atlanta and Miami as well as Austria, Germany, Holland, India, Taiwan and Turkey.
? Liberty Aerospace, which designs small aircraft including the Liberty XL2, moved to Melbourne in 2004 and now employs 120.
? Tennessee-based MedSolutions, which provides radiology management for healthcare companies, opened a facility in Melbourne last year and employs 102.
? RMD Americas of Florida moved to Cocoa last year, where it employs 100 people at a facility that focuses on high-tech recycling techniques for copper, aluminum, automobile tires and other materials.
? Arvato Services, a division of German media content provider Bertelsmann AG, took over a former cell phone repair plant in Melbourne and plans to expand to 400 employees.
? Saltwater Boat Group opened in Edgewater last year as a division of Brunswick Boat Group, a pleasure boat manufacturer based in Knoxville, Tenn., that is part of Brunswick Corp. in Lake Forest, Ill. The Saltwater division plans to expand this year either in Volusia or another part of the country.
Armed with a $51-million strategic economic development initiative, the county is continuing to lure medical-related manufacturing companies to Daytona Beach and the surrounding areas. "Unless there's a major disturbance in the marketplace, we would anticipate the in-migration to go up and the out-migration to remain stable," says Richard Michael, director of Volusia County's Department of Economic Development. "The biggest concern we have ... is are we going to be able to provide affordable housing for the workforce." ... Residents are watching eminent domain legal decisions that could affect the city's efforts to assume properties along the beach, where redevelopment plans have clashed with longtime business interests. ... The resurgence of the downtown area should continue with the recent opening of the News-Journal Center for performing arts and development of several upscale condominium projects.