Adaptive Reuse: Transforming Commercial Space for the Modern Era

The Daytona Aquarium and Rainforest Adventure is making a splash in Volusia County! But when you think of an aquarium, you think of big animals, and that requires a big footprint. Luckily, the business didn’t have to start from scratch. Instead, they used a practice the real estate industry calls adaptive reuse. Rather than build from the ground up, they repurposed an existing space; in this case, it was the storefront that previously housed Burlington Coat Factory, which turned out to be the perfect fit for the new business.

“The main thing that made the building the best place was the location of it,” said owners Cliff and Margaret Grosvenor. “Being right on International Speedway Boulevard and on the way to the beach was a perfect location.”

While the owners reconstructed the interior of the building, using the existing footprint saved both time and money. This practice is becoming more and more common.
“Land is becoming increasingly limited depending on where you’re looking to develop,” said Tim Davis, principal at SVN Alliance.

According to Davis, there are other benefits of commercial redevelopment. Permitting requirements have changed over time, with more consideration for items like green space and stormwater runoff. For the community, redevelopment helps to fight blight and can revitalize a shopping plaza by drawing in new customers.

The owners of this new business are hoping to do just that. As the name suggests, the 55,000-square-foot Daytona Aquarium and Rainforest Adventure features opportunities to get up close and personal with both aquatic and land animals. Visitors can expect to see land and sea animals from around the world and even get their hands wet in two separate touch pools.

As the destination’s first true aquarium, The Daytona Aquarium and Rainforest Adventure provides an entertainment opportunity for businesses and locals alike. According to Mid Florida Marketing and Research, Volusia County welcomed 10.6 million visitors in 2022. Whether it’s leisure travel or corporate groups, providing entertainment opportunities for individuals only furthers their experience in the area.

“The new aquarium is going to be an important asset to the destination’s tourism industry,” said Lori Campbell Baker, executive director for the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This attraction is going to provide another must-do experience for visitors when exploring the Daytona Beach area. We’re excited for the future opportunities that this attraction brings to our community.”

Another reason the building was a perfect fit? The opportunity for expansion. As the business grows, so too will the attractions.

“We plan to expand over the next few months, opening our education room, virtual reality experience and interactive experiences,” said the Gosvenors. “Our first expansion will be the Rainforest, which is planned to open in 2025. After that, we plan to open a cafe, event venue, snake room and an outdoor experience.”

The facility is open to the general public but welcomes the opportunity to create a special experience for groups, including tours, field trips, summer camps and business.

“We currently offer birthday parties and field trips and plan to offer weddings, parties and large corporate events in the future,” said the Grosvenors.

To learn more about the Daytona Aquarium and Rainforest Adventure, visit