Daytona Beach city leaders hope to bring in new businesses

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. —

City leaders in Daytona Beach will meet Wednesday in an effort to encourage businesses to set up shop at the pier as part of a big expansion.

But Channel 9's Bianca Castro discovered not everyone is convinced the master plan will come to fruition.

The look of Daytona Beach has changed a lot in five years, especially with the new rollercoaster that opened last year on the boardwalk.

The city is attempting to gain its own momentum in redevelopment efforts.

Renderings of the city's master plan to become a world class entertainment district seem nothing more than a pipe dream, but the dream is closer to reality, according to Castro.

City redevelopment director Reed Berger said interest is buzzing after two major hotel projects were announced last year, including a 500-room hotel that is expected to break ground within six months and the new Hard Rock Hotel that will go up soon after.

Now, small businesses are interested in moving into empty storefronts, and Starbucks is the latest to submit a zoning request.

"We've had great success, I think, more than we envisioned when we created the plan in terms of timing, so I expect things to accelerate in terms of interest and development," said Berger.

One idea the city has is to widen the pier more than double what it is now.

While the ideas continue to float, leaders admit none of the projects can happen without developers bringing their own ideas and money to the table.

That's why area business owners like Kyriakos Drymonis aren't holding their breath.

"Things are still in the early development stages but we'd like to see actual shovels being busted out and some ground being broken on these projects before we really get too excited about them," said Drymonis.