Push to redevelop old county jail in DeLand

For decades, the old Volusia County Jail has sat empty, right in the heart of downtown DeLand. Now, city officials are ready to turn the eyesore into a big economic boost.

In a deal with the county, DeLand took over the land in July, and the city appears ready to overhaul the area.

"A lot of that is driven on marketplace and what younger people are interested, younger families are interested in," explained DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar.

Potential redevelopment might include downtown apartments, an entertainment and retail complex, and office space.  With nearby Stetson University, Apgar also hopes to attract more students and their families.

"That will begin to help. Parents will stay there when they visit their students and so one and so forth," he said.

Mark Shuttleworth, who owns several properties across from the jail, believes building up Downtown DeLand is the boost the city has needed. 

"I think this will be a nucleus for a huge downtown expansion for business," he said.

The city currently has three proposals, but is still accepting more.  Officials plan to make a decision early next year.