Progress on Pier Park

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

New high-rise condominiums are changing the Panama City Beach skyline almost weekly, but the most promising beach development, the St. Joe Company's Pier Park, has yet to get off the ground.

You have to look up to see success on the beach. Front Beach Road was designated a Community Revitalization Area only three short years ago, but the benefits are already apparent in dozens of high-rise condos popping up along the strip. The same can't be said for Pier Park, which actually began a year before the Front Beach Road CRA.

"People are disappointed in the lack of development, but they can't blame any one person. St. Joe wants to do well," says Panama City Beach Mayor Lee Sullivan.

Plans for an outlet mall on the north side of the park fell through. In April, St. Joe announced it's negotiating with upscale retail developer Simon Property Group to build something on the level of Destin Commons, but nothing's materialized yet. Now, the city says it wants to take a leading role to make sure St. Joe's plans have the public's interest in mind.

"We're inviting St. Joe to the next workshop and sharing as a council where we'd like to see things go, how we'd like to see things done and what kind of time table we'd like to see those things accomplished in," says Sullivan.

They city may be taking the first step towards developing the park, but Sullivan says it will be a couple years before we see those plans come to fruition.

Panama City Beach city commissioners will hold a workshop with St. Joe officials November 18 to hash out development plans.


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