PANAMA CITY BEACH - Last year the site for Pier Park North was a vacant lot. Now it's taking its final shape.
"Over the last few months we've had a lot of rain, so we've had a lot of challenges, finishing up the paving and the buildings," said Rich Yaras, Pier Park North Developer.
Developers say they've leased about 80% of the New Pier Park North, a 350,000 square foot retail and entertainment complex across from Pier Park.
Yaras said, "There's nothing like it in the area. It's one of the first large scale developments since the downturn. So it's an exciting new development.
Developers broke ground on Pier Park North about a year ago.
250 workers from three construction companies built the bulk of the project, but it's also been a boost for local workers. Yaras said, "We also have local contractors working on the project. For us that's great for local competition."
"it's a wonderful thing to have all our people employed and it's really helpful when it employs people in bay county," said Mario Gisbert, Panama City Beach City Manager.
Pier Park North will accommodate about 45 stores and that means a lot of new full-time and part-time jobs.
Gisbert said, "800 jobs are coming to the beach based on 400,000 square feet, so it's absolutely wonderful."
As of Tuesday, four stores are open. Two more open next Friday. The official grand opening is scheduled for August.