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Fast and Furious

NEW LOOK: Ocean Waters Management's most visible project so far: Renovated Plaza Resort & Spa.

Since 1998, a Volusia County resort development company has quietly invested millions on oceanfront property, planning a series of projects that promises sweeping changes for Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach.

Ocean Waters Management's acquisitions have been so fast-paced that during one week in January, the company bought five properties, says Doug Kosarek, senior vice president. The company now holds about 35 sites on almost three miles along "The World's Most Famous Beach."

The company's most visible project so far is a $70-million renovation of the 322-room Plaza Resort & Spa, a hotel built in 1880 that previously catered to spring breakers. Many of the other properties are former mom-and-pop motels. Ocean Waters expects to start presales next spring on Blu, a 33-story upscale condo/hotel that will replace the Beachcomber Hotel on Atlantic Avenue. The company is seeking permits to build The Grand, a 42-story hotel that would help serve the expanding convention center.

In Ormond Beach, the company has submitted plans for a cluster of hotel and condominium units in eight buildings that range from eight stories to 19. The complex would contain the city's first five-star hotel and a 350-foot strip of oceanfront public park. Ormond Beach residents are still debating the proposal.

Meanwhile, founding partners Charles Bray and Joe Gillespie, former downtown Atlanta developers who now live in Daytona Beach, have donated $250,000 for a 96-bed homeless shelter expected to open in October.

Ocean Waters Properties
? Daytona Beach
Sites: 30
Oceanfront land: 2+ miles
Projects: Blu, a 33-story condo/hotel; The Grand, a 42-story hotel linked to the Daytona Beach Convention Center.

? Ormond Beach
Sites: 5
Oceanfront land: 3,400 square feet.
Projects: Eight-building residential/ vacation complex that includes a 5-star-level hotel, with structures varying from eight stories to 19.