Florida's Space Coast
Daytona Beach/Volusia County
» Good weather helped propel the travel and tourism industry in Volusia County in 2012, with local hotel tax revenue hitting a four-year high of $14.4 million. Daytona Beach International Airport passenger traffic rose 6% for the year to 584,280, and total takeoffs and landings soared 29% to 284,512. Supporters of the successful Biketoberfest event, which draws thousands to Volusia beaches and bars, are hoping to expand it from a week to 10 days.
» Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with its main campus at Daytona Beach, completed or began construction on about $60.5 million worth of campus improvements in 2012, including the $4.5-million Aerospace Boulevard, a loop road system; phase one infrastructure for Research Park; and the $13-million administration and welcome center, which has offices, meeting space and an airy 50-foot high atrium with interactive kiosks for visitors. A $39-million College of Arts and Sciences building will be completed later this year. A rooftop observatory will showcase the largest university-owned telescope in Florida.
» Wage and job growth continue to lag for the Deltona-Daytona-Ormond Beach metro area. The MSA, comprising Volusia County, is projected to show “low levels of growth” in most economic sectors from 2013-16, according to the latest regional forecast by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Competitiveness. The county's unemployment rate is forecast to average 8.2%, third-highest of 12 metro areas studied, and the average annual wage is forecast to be the second-lowest among the 12, at $41,200. Lack of diversification is a continuing challenge, as schools, state, local and national government agencies account for six of the nine largest employers in the county.
Businesses to Watch
» Daytona International Speedway: The home of the Daytona 500 stock car race and other events is exploring plans for potential redevelopment of its front stretch and mixed-use projects, says spokesman Andrew Booth.
» Halifax Health Medical Center: A master-planned community has the green light to add medical and professional offices, retail and apartments on 77 acres in Daytona.
» AO Precision Manufacturing: The Daytona Beach manufacturer has doubled its size with a $2.3-million, 60,000-sq.-ft. expansion, where it designs and produces products for firearms, defense, aerospace and other industries. The company hopes to hire more than 80 people this year, boosting total employment to 300.
People to Watch
» Cici and Hyatt Brown: Business and philanthropic leaders in Volusia, the couple donated $13 million to the Museum of Arts and Sciences for design and construction this year of the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art. The Browns also donated 2,600 oil and watercolor paintings for the museum, which will specialize in Florida artwork.
» Jamie Adley: Adley is vice president of Winston-James Development in Port Orange and 2013 president of the Volusia Building Industry Association. Adley says his company nearly doubled its new-home sales in 2012, and residential and commercial builders are enthusiastic about low interest rates, the improving economy and reduced inventory.
» Mark Andrews: Andrews is president of Hudson Technologies, a producer of metal casings and products for aerospace and other industries, in Ormond Beach. Andrews was selected chairman of the Volusia Manufacturers Association.
» Joe Perez: As new government affairs director for the Volusia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Perez plans to raise the group's profile in Tallahassee and more closely monitor local, state and national issues as Hispanics throughout Florida gain political influence and clout at the polls.
|Volusia Population: 504,933|
|Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.51%|
|Population by Age:|
|Per Capita Income: $35,640|