Panama City Moves Forward with Plans to Improve Downtown

A Pensacola developer has made Panama City commissioners an offer they apparently can't refuse. He's offered to do a $100,000 feasibility study on redeveloping downtown Panama City...for free. Commissioners and downtown business owners are anxious to see what the study will reveal. Panama City's downtown business owners believe the area has the potential to be something special.

"We love it, we're not going anywhere,” said Robin Atamian, owner of The Place. “So we're patient, but please hurry." They're excited about a Pensacola developers offer to help them realize that potential. Dan Gilmore of RGB Development is offering to do a feasibility study for the city at no charge. Gilmore is asking for 4 months, in exchange for the city's guarantee it will not start any new public-private partnerships.

"He sees Panama City as a diamond in the rough that we have a lot of great potential,” said Panama City commissioner Mike Nichols, “we're doing a lot of great stuff with the marina so he wants to be on that ground floor to be a part of this, this new beginning"

And Gilmore has a track record. He played an integral role in helping to revitalize downtown Pensacola. Local business owners believe concrete improvements to the downtown area will create opportunities to attract more people.

"Bringing those types of events to our downtown will actually bring more family friendly situations, will bring more people in, and show that they can return,” said Jane Lindsey, owner of Elegant Endeavors, “and if our business fronts are empty and if our businesses are leased out to all things that aren't retail that's not going to help us."

Gilmore's proposal would not affect any public-private partnership plans by businesses that own their own property.

Commissioners plan to discuss the contract at their November 13th meeting.


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