Neighborhood meeting to talk about the Protogroup project,
Rob Merrell, lawyer for the developer of the $ 192 million Protogroup project, speaks to neighborhood residents about a rezoning request.
The Daytona Beach Newspaper
To the casual observer, it would appear that Protogroup’s nearly $ 200 million beachfront hotel-condo project has been hampered from the start.
After the Russian family-owned Palm Coast company announced plans to build its ambitious two-tower, 28-story, 500-room condo-hotel straddling the beach approach to Oakridge Boulevard, officials and observers of the Tourism industry predicted that the project would spur a resurgence in the devastated beach district, best known for its run down bars, strip clubs and motels.
But it wasn’t long before it became clear to everyone involved that an opening date originally proposed in 2016 was not going to happen.
The latest news on Protogroup: Beachfront Protogroup Hotel in Daytona Beach is out of cash, cannot complete promised roadworks
Since then, the future Daytona Grande has seen almost every conceivable delay a project could face – from funding issues to a global pandemic – culminating in a revelation this week that without the city’s help, the project could potentially collapse in New Mexico Bankruptcy.
Here’s a timeline of how this noble project grew from a two-year hotel construction to a nine-year city-defining saga.
March 2012: Protogroup purchases over 2.5 acres of oceanfront land near Seabreeze Boulevard for $ 6.3M
Palm Coast-based hotel developer Protogroup Inc. has purchased four lots south of Plaza Resort & Spa on the A1A near Seabreeze Boulevard and has announced a brokerage with Charles Wayne Properties. The sale parcel includes the closed Sea Side Inn, 500 N. Atlantic Ave., as well as empty lots at 422 and 414 N. Atlantic Ave. and 700 Oakridge Blvd.
The hotel was to meet the city’s need for a second convention hotel to complement the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.
June 2014: Protogroup agrees to deal with the county and estimates the hotel’s completion in 2 years
In order to move Protogroup forward in construction, Volusia County Council agreed to an agreement that would allow the developer to build a pedestrian bridge spanning the two towers over a renovated beach approach to Oakridge Boulevard. The approach would be open to the public, but not the pedestrian bridge.
November 2014: after several delays, Protogroup indicates that it expects to start in early 2015 and finish in mid-end 2017
To say that this is an “important and complicated process,” said then-planner Rich Walton, that the delays do not reflect a problem with the project.
“Sounds good,” Protogroup attorney Rob Merrell said. “Sometimes the process takes longer than expected. There are no real issues or problems.
March 2016: Further delays push back the planned completion of the project to 2021
A project manager told the News-Journal that the project ran into a problem trying to fund everything at the same time. Instead, the project had to be divided into three phases. There were also infrastructure problems with city permits.
The new plan called for the construction of the south tower (hotel) to be completed in four years, which should have been 2020, and for the north tower (condo) to be completed in six years.
April 2016: Protogroup innovates on a parking lot across the street
Four years after plans were announced to develop a $ 130 million beachfront hotel / condominium complex, land was finally thrown on the first phase of the project: a six-story parking garage on the other side. from the street.
February 16, 2017: Record $ 192 Million Hotel / Condo Leads the Way
“In 30 months we will start running the hotel. (Then) it will be very exciting,” said Alexey Lysich, vice president of Protogroup Inc., at the time.
It would actually take another 51 months (over 4 years) before the first customers register.
March 2017: Start of excavation work on the project site
It would be the first time any work was done on the site the Protogroup purchased for what would ultimately become the most expensive – and tallest – beachfront development ever built in Daytona Beach.
October 2018: Gryffin Construction takes over as general contractor
Gryffin resumed construction of the Protogroup Twin Towers project after the abrupt departure of the original contractor, WG Yates & Sons Construction Company, based in Mississippi.
After Protogroup severed ties with the company, Yates spokesman Kenny Bush said the contractor had not been paid for three months, a claim Protogroup vice president Alexey Lysich said. denied.
November 2018: Federal lawsuit filed against Protogroup
Included in the trial documents is an Internal Revenue Service report that questioned company spokesman Alexey Lysich’s claim that he paid a Bahamian shell company $ 710,000 for around $ 71 million. of dollars in fruits and vegetables in 2014. The IRS said a Lysich said deduction for payments to the business shell “should be banned altogether.”
This shell company and another offshore company linked to an Alexey Petrovich Lysich were included in the Panama Papers, 11.5 million documents leaked in 2015.
January 2019: Subcontractors take legal action to recover months of unpaid work
Three contractors have filed a lawsuit to collect payment for months of work they say they did on the massive $ 192 million beachfront project of Daytona Beach Convention Hotel & Condominiums from Protogroup in the east end of Oakridge Boulevard.
A lawyer representing Protogroup said the three legal disputes are between the contractors and Yates, the company that hired them and was contractually obligated to pay them within 10 days of receiving payment from the developer.
December 2019: Protogroup requests a 3-year extension, settles for 1 year
Protogroup initially requested a three-year extension, but public outcry forced him to drop that request and ask for a year instead. A one-year extension can be approved by staff without public participation. The new deadline for the completion of the South Tower would be Jan. 28, 2021, Protogroup attorney Rob Merrell said.
Other changes contained in the proposed new deal include a reduction from 501 to 459 hotel rooms as well as a corresponding increase from 122 to 164 condominium units in the South Tower.
February 2020: The appearance of a crane on the project site represents the first activity for over a year
For the first time in over a year, construction activity was visible on the north tower.
Not much has changed in this part of the project over the past year, with the city officially confirming that construction on the North Tower ceased in June as this part of the project was being redesigned, according to Gryffin Construction Corporation, the general contractor of the project.
August 24, 2020: After 2 years of work, the general contractor Gryffin Construction left the project
In the request, Craig Stephen Greene, President of Gryffin, said that “this transfer is voluntary on behalf of my company”. He made no further comment on the change when contacted by phone by The News-Journal.
Gryffin Construction released: $ 192 Million Protogroup Project Deadline Approaches
December 3, 2020: Developer Extends Deadline by Citing a Declared State of Emergency
Rob Merrell, the attorney representing the developer, has requested an extension of the current deadline of January 29, 2021 for the completion of the project’s south tower based on state law §252.363 (l) (a ) l, which provides that “[t]The expiration of a development order issued by a local authority “is paid for during the duration of any emergency declaration issued by the Governor.
Due to the coronavirus virus pandemic, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency on March 9 and extended it for three additional 60-day periods.
Concerns about COVID: The deadline for Daytona Protogroup hotels has been further extended; partly responsible pandemic
June 4, 2021: Soft opening of Daytona Grande
After nearly a decade of waiting, the doors have finally opened in Daytona Grande.
Looking at the hotel from North Atlantic Avenue, where construction workers on tall ladders were still working on electrical wiring behind chain-link fences Friday morning, there is no indication that the hotel is welcoming guests.
The tour request of a News-Journal reporter was rejected.
“Are you planning to check in?” Said Alexy Lysich. Otherwise, “send me a request”.
Silent opening: The long-delayed Protogroup hotel opens without fanfare. Here is a glimpse of the interior
June 22, 2021: Code enforcement complaint filed due to security concerns
In 2017, The News-Journal reported that the foundation consisted of 100-foot-deep holes drilled into the ground and filled with concrete and rebar. The rebar is tinted copper, the result of rusting in the sun and salt air for nearly three years since foundation work began in December 2018 on this part of the project.
Rusty rebar: Code enforcement complaint lodged on rusted rebar at the Protogroup North Tower site
Less than 48 hours after the complaint was filed, in the early morning hours of June 24, the 13-story Champlain Towers South condominium in Miami-Dade County suddenly collapsed.
September 9, 2021: Protogroup hosts an exclusive grand opening ceremony
In keeping with the tumultuous track record of a project marked by nearly a decade of complications, the planning for the groundbreaking event was accompanied by a bit of drama. After Bob Davis, president and CEO of the Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County, mistakenly forwarded the email invitation to his contact list, some who responded with interest in attending the event. been informed by the hotel that the guest list was complete. .
November 2, 2021: Protogroup tells city it has no more money and cannot complete promised road works
Protogroup, the Russian family-owned Palm Coast company behind the project, used up its construction loan for the 28-story, 455-room hotel before construction was completed.
Without cash: The hotel has completed the promised road works, seek help from the city
“Protogroup now finds itself forced to close the construction finance loan and secure permanent financing in order to avoid bankruptcy and to maintain the ownership and operation of the convention hotel property,” wrote Deputy City Manager Jim Morris last week in a note to City Manager Deric Feacher.