P.C. Commission Considers High-Rise for Downtown Marina

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If it goes as planned it will be one of the largest land swapping deals in Bay County history, not necessarily in terms of the amount of land or the amount of money, but the impact could be enormous.

Panama City commissioners are considering a developer's idea to build a high-rise condominium on the Panama City Marina. It's sure to stir up some controversy, but initial plans to build a high-rise condo where City Hall and the Public Library now sits is getting the go ahead from commissioners.

Enticed by plans for a new City Hall and Public Library, city commissioners unanimously approved a conceptual plan to relocate both facilities, but in exchange a high-rise condo would be built in their place and would house 200 permanent residents.

"I've always supported more residential buildings in the downtown area. It would be beneficial," says Mayor Gerry Clemons.

The same company that plans to buy the Old Bay Line Train Depot presented the plan to commissioners Tuesday afternoon. The developer would hand over the deed to the property to the city once the new City Hall and library are built there.

The developer says it's the only way to accomplish his overall plan.

"The downtown area has to be revitalized. To do that you have to have homeowners in the downtown area. The DIB property is not the place for condos. This allows City Hall and library at no cost to taxpayers," says Robert Blackerby of Magnum-Capital LLC.

City commissioner also gave the go-ahead for the redevelopment of another historic area in Panama City. Millville has been designated as a Community Redevelopment Area and will receive money for beautification and infrastructure.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to appoint Bill Cramer to the Airport Board. Cramer has been involved in the local business community for the past 25 years and is owner of Tommy Thomas Chevrolet. Although he has not said whether he is for or against airport relocation, Cramer does say he is for planned development.

"I'm looking forward to looking into the issues, getting the facts and economic analysis. I want to find an objective answer that's best for the community," says Bill Cramer.