PANAMA CITY-- Panama City Commissioners have decided they want to take more time before they rank the Maria Renovation proposals from 6 developers. Officials say they have a lot of elements to consider before making a decision.
However, city commissioners released some of the details last week. Attorney Mark Mustain said, "We are just getting started. The proposals just came in. Everybody's just taking a look at them. We are trying to get the process set up."
The proposals range from about $46 million up to $305 million, but commissioners believe it's money well spent. According to officials, the Marina is the key to revitalizing the entire Downtown area, so they want to take their time considering their options. "There will be an economic return through more taxes, through the gross receipts tax, though ad valorem taxes , more revenues as far as utilities," said Nevin Zimmerman, Panama City City Attorney.
At Monday's City Council meeting, officials discussed each developer's background and company history. Mayor Greg Brudnicki said, "We've got 6 different proposals they have given us information about themselves and we just need to narrow it down to who we want to have do the project."
All of the blueprints included some similar landmarks like a new city hall, a convention center, a hotel, residential areas and parking. The 3 attorneys, reviewing the plans for commissioners, expect the proposals to continue evolving. "I think it's too early to say, whether there is going to be a movie theater or a restaurant or what not. That is probably what's going to come out within the next two to three months," said Mustain.
They're also recommending commissioners hire a real estate consultant. Brudnicki said, "We just want to make sure that we pick the right developer, so we are going to get a real estate consultant that's going to get into the weeds with these people, separate the weak from the strong; figure out who the best overall development group is and then we will decide what we are going to do."
The city hopes to select a developer by the end of September.