Daytona Beach Commission Approves DME Expansion

The business of sports is growing in Daytona Beach after City Commissioners approved a rezoning request from DME Holdings, operator of DME Academy, to build new housing units at  its Bellvue Avenue location.

The approval allows DME to add an additional 3.8 acres in its footprint and rezones the tract to increase the number of student housing units from 164 to 324 on the property, as well as for development of additional academic and sports training facilities.

DME Academy is a multi-sport training and educational institution offering programs for student athletes in grades six to 12 as well as post-graduate programs, year-ro9und camps, tournaments and events and collegiate and professional training, according to the company’s website.

Speaking in support of the request, Daytona Beach resident John Nicholson said the planned expansion would boost the sports industry in the city. Recalling his experience working for Delta Airlines in Miami years ago, Nicholson told a story of watching “a bunch of trucks pulled on our runway and packed up a building that was across from us” to move a flight school to Daytona Beach. That flight school became Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

“DME has the ability to be the same thing and I’m wondering why we’re not working with them,” he said. “It would be a most appropriate symbiotic relationship for Daytona Beach to grow the sports industry in Daytona Beach and be great and helpful to our hotel industry.”

Another speaker, Jim Cameron, said DME is not only a good employer but “a good corporate citizen,” citing owner Mike Panaggio’s involvement in community organizations.

“I have seen their school out there,” Cameron said. “My own grandsons have participated out there before. I think it’s really great for Daytona Beach.”

Asked by Commissioner Stacy Cantu if the new dormitories could  be moved to a different part of the property from the newly rezoned tract, consultant Joe Hopkins said several issues were discussed with city staff “in great detail” and the company has other projects to be completed.

“We are committed to the plan we presented to the commission,” he said.

The rezoning ordinance was approved unanimously.