Coffee Hour with Beat

Avalon Park Group recently purchased 3,000+ acres of land in Daytona Beach. There were many considerations for this purchase, especially being in the midst of a pandemic. After talking with many leaders, we found Daytona Beach would be a great fit for a community where people can live, learn, work and play, like in Avalon Park Orlando, or Celebration or Baldwin Park. The land is in a great location near Interstate 95. Additionally, Daytona Beach has a world brand. I am writing this Coffee with Beat on the train from Zurich to Basel, Switzerland, and I asked 6 random passengers on the train if they knew of Daytona Beach.   They all said YES, and of the six, three had heard about Tampa, three had not. It is amazing for me to see that half a world away on a train in central Europe, double the people I asked knew Daytona Beach over Tampa.  
On February 19th, the world-famous Daytona 500 is taking place. However, the most important difference between Avalon Park Daytona Beach, and all Avalon Park’s for that matter, is that the Daytona 500 is a race…fast and over in one day.  While Avalon Park Daytona Beach is the opposite of a race, it is a very long-term engagement.   
We will start construction of Avalon Park Daytona soon, however, soon means in 1 – 5 years. When we bought Avalon Park Orlando, at the time (1989) 9,400 acres, we waited eight years before starting construction. I am glad we did. There was the saving and loan crisis in the early 1990’s and starting right then would not been a good idea. You see, in a 30 year+ project, timing is everything. Real estate professionals often use the famous “location, location, location” as the main reason for purchasing real estate. For me for more than 30 years, “timing, timing, timing” is more important.   
However, the most important thing in the development of an entire small town is having SKIN IN THE GAME.  
These days most of Avalon Park Group’s competitors operate with other people’s money, from Wall Street or other sources, where the manager often has no SKIN IN THE GAME. We believe in long-term investing in the communities we build, along with all stakeholders, homeowners, tenants, local government, and the community at large. For most developers, their investment is at its highest when buying the land and putting in infrastructure, such as roads, sewer and water lines, parks, etc. Then, the next step is typically to sell-off to builders and others, either getting their money back, or making a profit in good times, or losing their shirt in bad times. This is where Avalon Park Group is different, we continue to invest. Today our investment in Avalon Park Orlando has never been higher, even with the community 99% complete. Why? Again, we have SKIN IN THE GAME and invest alongside the community, in public infrastructure, buildings, startup companies, non-profit organizations and more.  
Having SKIN IN THE GAME does not stop at a financial commitment to infrastructure and businesses, it goes far beyond that. By supporting organizations and members of the community, like the Boys and Girls Club.  And when I return from my week-long business trip to Switzerland, we will attend the Mayor’s Gala benefitting First Step this Saturday in Daytona Beach. This is the same in all of our communities, such as in Avalon Park Orlando, supporting events like the Cook Off to Cure Chili Cook Off and the Rotary Club Poker Tournament, organized by long-time residents and community members with true SKIN IN THE GAME.

At the end of the day if we are all aligned, we can reach so much more for all constituents. Avalon Park Group will stay for the long time, in good and bad times, as we have proven in Orlando over the last third of a century. 

Beat Kahli

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Investment into sitEX Properties Holding AG, a publicly traded Swiss real estate development company with activities in Northwest Switzerland, Central Florida and Texas. Largest shareholder. Top performing publicly traded company in Switzerland with a 10-yr IRR of 19.4%.