Developer hopes luxury hotel will ease tensions on beach driving decision

Developer hopes luxury hotel will ease tensions on beach driving decision

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Beach driving was elevated on some parts of Daytona Beach, and now, a popular Daytona Beach hotel that was once ranked one of the dirtiest in the country can be transformed into an upscale resort.

A developer, who was in favor of eliminating beach driving in some areas, is turning the Desert Inn hotel into a Westin Hotel.

Abbas Abdulhussein said he hopes to get in the good graces of beach driving supporters by turning the hotel around and giving them 140 public parking spaces.

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Volusia County leaders just approved an ordinance allowing Abdulhussein to have no cars on the beach behind the hotel.

Construction crews have scraped the Desert Inn down to its concrete.

"It's going to be over the top, beautiful hotel, nothing like Daytona's ever seen," said Abdulhussein.

It will take more than $23 million to convert the existing $120,000-square-foot area a luxurious Westin Hotel.

"We're shooting for people who have never considered Daytona as a destination and go, 'Wow, we want to go to this site,'" said Abdulhussein.

Abbas and his development have been on one side of the beach driving debate, which he said is necessary to draw a luxury brand hotel partner and their guests.

"We need to attract them, and to do that, the traffic free is an issue for them. A lot of them are families, a lot of them travel with their families, so it's important for them to feel safe," said Abdulhussein.

Volusia County leaders just approved an ordinance allowing Abdulhussein to have no cars on the beach behind the hotel.

"I think success will change things. When the public sees 140 parking spots that are available to the public, a ramp that goes down to the beach, a beach that's busy with kids happily running around, I think that's going to change a lot of perception," said Abdulhussein.

The Desert Inn and the Hard Rock Hotel requested traffic free zones and they must be completed.

Abdulhussein said he hopes to open by the end of 2016.