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PHOTO: One Daytona is scheduled to debut in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Daytona International Speedway)
Daytona Beach is preparing for an exciting new chapter in its history. The destination is showcasing its racing heritage, its idyllic East Coast oceanfront location and its impressive arts affiliation. Daytona has invested nearly $2 billion in renovations and construction that are focused on enhancing the vacation stay for visitors.
One of the largest projects is the $400 million expansion of the Daytona International Speedway, which is currently underway. Other notable projects include a new Hard Rock Hotel & Café and an upscale Westin hotel. Both of these are in the early planning stages.
Another aspect of the city's rejuvenation is focused on drawing a broader sector of the traveling public. The city is focused on an eclectic culinary scene, off-the-beaten-path attractions for thrill seekers, year-round cultural events, shopping experiences, golfing and more. All of these enhancements will offer visitors unexpected delights during their Florida vacation.
Racing Still Center Stage
The Daytona Rising project, which is the name of the $400 million overhaul of the Daytona International Speedway will transform it into the "World Center of Entertainment," set to debut in January. The new facility will feature three new concourse levels that will span the front stretch; five expanded and redesigned fan entrances called "injectors," 11 social areas dubbed "neighborhoods," each the size of a football field with open sightlines and dozens of video screens to capture the on-track action; more than 60 new luxury trackside suites with patios; 14 elevators and 40 escalators in the new grandstand; and, 101,000 new 20-inch to 21-inch grandstand seats with backs and arm rests. There will also be more than 5,000 solar panels, making the sports complex one of the top five largest solar installations at a professional sports venue in the country.
For those who want to experience what it's like to race behind the wheel, there is the Richard Petty Driving Experience that allows guests to take a lap around the world-famous 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway.
Retailers Head to Daytona
Daytona Beach is undergoing a renaissance in terms of shopping, dining and entertainment. The One Daytona development will be a mixed-use complex across from the speedway. Planned to open in 2017, Phase One will include a Bass Pro Shops, Cobb Theatres and a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel. The development boasts approximately 300,000 square feet of retail space and is projected to become a hub for visitors, race fans and residents as a place to live, work, stay and play.
Tanger Outlets recently announced plans for a new outlet mall in Daytona Beach that is expected to open in time for the 2016 holiday shopping season. The new complex will be located near Interstate 95 and LPGA Boulevard and the center will house more than 350,000 square feet of space and more than 80 upscale retailers.
In addition to new shopping outlets, old ones have also received a facelift. The Volusia Mall just completed a $5 million upgrade, providing shoppers with a more inviting experience. The area's thriving downtown areas, including Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, DeLand and New Smyrna Beach continue to add eclectic, new boutiques and eateries as well.
Daytona was recently placed in the top 15 destinations for golf in the U.S., and there are numerous courses for visitors to take advantage of. Courses operate year-round and charge affordable greens fees, making it a popular activity for visitors to the area who can choose to play where the pros do - LPGA International, home course of the LPGA and Symetra Tours - or choose from more than 20 other fine courses, all participating in Discover Daytona Beach Golf.
Janeen Christoff caught the travel bug while living in London, England. After two years on the road, she settled in Los Angeles...
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