COCOA BEACH, Fla. – With his Backstreet Boys touring schedule postponed by the pandemic, Howie D addressed a small crowd during the groundbreaking of his $35 million Cocoa Beach condominium complex, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.
“This is actually the first time I’ve been in front of an audience in a year,” Howie D said, speaking to about 35 people standing on a sidewalk Monday morning at the future site of The Surf.
“This is not my normal gig,” he said, generating laughter.
Howie and his brother John operate Dorough Brothers Development and Consulting, a Winter Park real estate development firm.
The Surf will feature 25 luxury condominiums ranging from $975,000 to $2.5 million and a second-floor swimming pool, spa and fire pit atop ground-level retail space.
Target opening date: first or second quarter 2023, John Dorough said.
Crews will construct The Surf in downtown Cocoa Beach between Minutemen Causeway and North First Street, at the vacant former beachfront home of Ocean Dunes. That long-vanished vacation-rental complex was pummeled by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004, then demolished in 2005.
Piling testing is now underway at the site, amid dirt piles and orange plastic fencing. Grading and site work will begin after Florida Power & Light Co. removes utility lines along the dune line, John Dorough said.
Condominium prices at The Surf range from $975,000 for a 2,657-square-foot unit with three bedrooms to $2.5 million for a 4,080-square-foot, four-bedroom penthouse, listed by Alyssa Boyd, broker-owner of Sand Dollar Realty of Brevard. Nineteen of the 25 units have been sold, she said.
An Orlando native who visited Space Coast beaches as a child, Howie D has built and lived in oceanfront condominiums in Avon-by-the-Sea and Cape Canaveral since the 1990s.
The Dorough brothers’ Space Coast condominium projects include Flores Ocean Suites in Avon-by-the-Sea (15 units, completed July 2000), Flores del Mar in Cape Canaveral (33 units, completed June 2002), Flores de la Playa in Satellite Beach (18 units, completed October 2003) and Flores de la Costa in Avon-by-the-Sea (14 units, completed June 2019), along with Country Inn & Suites in Cape Canaveral (opened 2006).
“We’re so excited to see a brand-new (housing) product come online in Cocoa Beach,” Mayor Ben Malik said.
“We are the second-hottest region for economic growth in the entire country. Between SpaceX and Blue Origin and everything going on — thousands of engineers — we’ve got new product for them to live in,” he said.
Malik was referring to the recently released Milken Institute rankings of the country’s best-performing communities for economic growth among 200 larger metropolitan areas. The Palm Bay/Melbourne/Titusville metro area ranked No. 2, rocketing upward from 153rd in 2016.
The groundbreaking ceremony honored Charles Boyd, the Cocoa Beach developer who died in May at age 72. The Doroughs credit him with spearheading The Surf project five years ago.
Backstreet Boys: World tour remains postponed because of COVID-19
The Backstreet Boys’ last album, “DNA,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in February 2019. But the group’s North American leg of its world tour remains postponed because of COVID-19.
The revised schedule includes Florida concerts in Jacksonville (June 21 at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena), Tampa (June 22 at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre) and West Palm Beach (June 23 at iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre).
Howie D joked that he has felt like “a fish out of water” during the coronavirus pandemic because he hasn’t performed on stage.
“We are in the process of right now trying to get things geared back up to do some more touring,” Howie D said.
“Hopefully — God willing — once we get the vaccine out there and we can get back out to normal capacities, we’ll be back out on stage,” he said.
Next week, Howie D said pre-production kicks into gear on a Backstreet Boys Christmas album. A list of about 30 classic songs will be whittled down to 10, with plans to also record two original songs. The album should be finished by June.
“I’m actually catching up with the guys for the first time in a year next week. We’re going to catch up somewhere in the winter wonderland — somewhere wherever there’s some snow — to get into the Christmas spirit,” Howie D said.
“We’re going to go in and do some pre-production on it, getting to see who’s going to sound right on which song. And then we’ll probably all record the rest of it individually,” he said.
“So I’ll be having some recording facilities here in Brevard County that’ll be hosting at least one-fifth of the Backstreet Boys’ Christmas record,” he said.