Actor Interested in Land Deal

By: Sabrina Zimring
By: Sabrina Zimring

"Acting is a creative outlet, and so is architecture."

Most people know Wayne Rogers as the first "trapper John" on the long running and wildly popular television series MASH. Nowadays Rogers is a serious developer with dozens of large projects to his credit.

"We've done everything. We've done hotels, high-rises, a lot of residential development. In fact, I've got one up in Crestview, north of the bay. It's about a 500-home subdivision."

Rogers and his partner Larry Pennock want their next project to take place here in Bay County. The group bid $50 million for the airport property. Of the four bidders, the amount comes in third, but Rogers is optimistic.

"If it's money only they’re considering, I'm not sure we're appropriate people to do this. We believe, and we've been successful at integrating with community, and that what we do.”

"We've gone around and talked to everybody and said, ‘tell me what you like to see, tell me what you want,’ and we're incorporated it into our plans."

So what are the plans?

"This is built around the concept of a coordinated village so you could walk from one side to the other it will have a central area that is entertainment, and commercial, and there will be a marina."

Design plans include about 2,000 low rise residential units, a golf course, 200 acres of green space, and 80 acres of land that would be donated to Florida State to expand the university.

The design is meant to be pedestrian friendly. This sketch shows the site can be walked in about 10 minutes.

"There is 4,000 units of residential and ours is 2000. We're building low-rise; they're building high-rise. That's not what the city wants. We went around and talked to leaders in the city. I'm talking about commissioners, about the mayor, people who care about the city. They said this is what we want and this is what we've incorporated.”

The airport board will be reviewing all of the proposals at their next meeting on October 16. Whoever wins the airport land bid will have to be patient. They won't be able to break ground until the new airport in West Bay is open for business. That will probably take about four years.

The highest bidder is PCA Development. They've offered $61 million and plans that include affordable housing, assisted living and public meeting areas.

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