Buying Bay County

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Bob Blackerby says four years ago he couldn't find an investor if he tried, now his investment in the community is about to pay off.

"The generation that is retiring is the wealthiest generation in the history of the U.S."

Blackerby and his wife moved to Bay County from Mobile, Alabama knowing the area needed to get ready for the baby boomers. After launching one of the first 600-plus unit beach front condos, he moved on with more anticipation of what's to come.

"There are a lot of people with a lot of money and they want a certain product, and we're not providing that here yet, but we're going to."

Besides launching a land swap downtown that will relocate City Hall and the library and add hundreds of residential units, he also has his eyes on the beach, specifically 17 acres surrounding his Fiesta motel and the property adjoining the Bid-a-Wee neighborhood.

One more obstacle and the project will be ready to go, even with the support from the Bid-a-Wee Homeowner's Association.

"It would be obviously luxury condos, but with luxury retail shops, night life, a hotel, very upscale, by far the most upscale project."

Blackerby is all about housing and entertaining an upscale community that has yet to flourish in Bay County. He says strong landscaping and strict environmental codes need to be launched and strictly enforced to guarantee a lavish yet aesthetic community.

"We may all complain as developers about what you're doing to us, but when you add the landscape and the environment, our prices go up on our units. We don't lose money, we just complain a lot."

And while out of town developers may complain, Blackerby insists he's here to stay and he won't stop until Bay County is up to par.