Boom to Bust: Part 1

By: Elizabeth Prann
By: Elizabeth Prann

They were supposed to be the crown jewels of the Emerald Coast.

Multimillion dollar resorts, decorating the landscape of Panama City Beach...

Instead, some 14 different properties have become abandoned, rundown and abused... Adding nothing to the actual or financial landscape.

Newschannel Seven's Elizabeth Prann kicks off a special report "Boom to Bust" as she examined three of those properties and she found out things don't always go as planned.

To the average person the empty properties appear to be abandoned eyesores.

But these rundown beach properties were once the foundations for developers' dreams and still hold huge potential.

"It was big properties if you would, valuable, like the miracle strip property, right in the heart of the tourist area as far as location in relationship to the beach, that fell by the way side," said Panama City Beach City Manager Richard Jackson.

Jackson says the sale of 14 properties, between 2002 to 2006, contributed to a massive local economic boom....and the jaw-dropping bust that followed shortly thereafter.

If you drive up and down Front Beach Road you may notice three pieces of land in particular.

The first being Miracle Strip development, which sold in 2005 for 26 million dollars.

"One of the major properties of course is Miracle Strip properties, the developers haven't moved on that and it's obviously of the economy. The market just is not there right now," said Jackson.

The land still has remnants of an old amusement park remain on the land but neighbors are the farthest thing from amused.

"Everybody around here wants to see it go away, not necessarily the development but we just need it cleaned up, I don't think that's a whole lot of expect from the neighbor is to clean up their mess," said Jason Oakes, the owner of Beach Tower Resort.

His hotel is next door to the old Mircale Strip Park.

The owners of the Miracle Strip property did not return our calls.

Neither did the owner of the second property we investigated, the old Fiesta Motel.

It's actually three parcels of land, totaling about 14 acres.

It originally sold for $39-million just three years ago.

"We've already reached out to them again and asked would you want to demolihs it or is the city going to go ahead and do it," said Mel Leonard, the Director of Planning & Building in Panama City Beach.

Not only is the property an eye sore, it's also a safety concern.

Vandals have thrown rocks through the windows and tagged the walls with graffiti.

And it certainly doesn't portray the image of a new progressive destination that tourism leaders want to present to visitors.

So city officials say the property is coming down one way or another.

Lenoard says the city has already drawn-up the bid documents to demolish the Fiesta.

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  • by Fisherman Location: PC on Mar 19, 2009 at 05:01 PM
    Use the rule of eminent domain. Knock 'em down, haul the debris to the Gulf and create some more artificial reefs. It'll boost the employment situation, improve the landscape and the fishing. Need volunteers? I'm available.
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