DAYTONA BEACH — Just over a year after Brown & Brown Inc. announced plans to build a new headquarters on North Beach Street, site work has finally begun on the office tower.
“Everything is going according to game plan,” said Chairman J. Hyatt Brown in a phone interview.
And the headquarters now is going to be bigger than first envisioned.
New site plans filed with the city for the project now indicate the tower will be 11 stories, up from the originally proposed 10, and as much as 225,000 square feet in size.
“Call it 10 1/2 floors,” said David Lotz, chief corporate counsel for Brown & Brown. “We want some sort of rooftop amenity like a deck or outdoor space as well as some sort of inside space.”
The decision to add the extra floor was made to take full advantage of the spectacular views from the top of the building which the company verified through the use of an aerial drone.
“You’ll be able to see the river as well as the ocean,” Lotz said.
Brown in a phone interview acknowledged it took longer than expected to start construction because of delays in obtaining the necessary permits.
That process included a voluntary environmental cleanup of the former car dealership sites, which was deemed to be essentially completed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in a letter issued in July.
Lotz said the development site had some soil problems and is requiring extra fill dirt to be trucked in.
Plans for the corporate campus also call for the planting of more than 200 trees and extensive landscaping, as well as storm water retention ponds and other features designed to lessen the potential for flooding, not only of the company’s property, but also the surrounding area, Lotz confirmed.
The office tower will be built in the southeast section of the campus, with room for a potential second tower to be added immediately north of it.
The west portion of the campus will primarily be used for surface parking, which will be broken up with “islands” of landscaping and trees, Lotz said.
“We’re building a campus for our teammates. We don’t want a nice building and a vapid parking lot,” he said. “We want a nice campus for the city.”
The planned office tower is seen by local observers as a key to revitalizing the city’s historic downtown business district.
The new headquarters is expected to bring at least 625 white-collar workers to the area in addition to the more than 300 already employed at the national insurance agency’s current leased headquarters offices at 220 S. Ridgewood Ave.
The new jobs are expected to pay an average of at least $41,300 a year, well above the current average annual wage for workers in Volusia County.
Brown said the anticipated move-in date for the new headquarters will be Oct. 1, 2020.