Panama City gets pre-application approval for money to build new convention center

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (PRESS RELEASE) - The City of Panama City gained preliminary support by the Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. Board to move forward in seeking funding for the construction of a convention/civic center.

The City will be working with consultants, architects and the arts community to submit a formal application and design a facility that meets the needs of the community. (WJHG)

The City with the assistance of Destination Panama City submitted a pre-application for $40 Million for the creation of a Panama City Convention Center. The Board notified the City that the pre-application meets the minimum requirements for further consideration.

“The City is very grateful to the Board for its favorable consideration of the City’s pre-application,” said City Manager Mark McQueen. “The significance of building a convention center with performing arts capability and the positive economic impact to the community can’t be overstated.”

Over the years, The Panama City Marina Civic Center has been the cornerstone of cultural and civic events in the community; however, the facility is outdated and does not meet the needs of many event and conference coordinators.

Construction of a full-service convention center would offer opportunities for growth in areas like the arts, culture and advanced education. Studies of similar facilities completed in other markets show that convention centers have positive economic impacts ranging from $12 to 17 Million of economic growth.

"The pre-application approval could not have come at a better time for the city. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to continue our journey of recovery,” said Jennifer Vigil, President of Destination Panama City. “A mixed use performing arts and convention center will create the vibrant vitality that is needed in Panama City."

The City will be working with consultants, architects and the arts community to submit a formal application and design a facility that meets the needs of the community.

“It is also a great opportunity to consider how we can use such a facility as a shelter in times of emergency and design it appropriately,” McQueen added.

The City would like to thank its co-applicants, Destination Panama City, Bay County Board of County Commissioners, Bay Arts Alliance, Bay County Chamber of Commerce, Bay County Economic Development Alliance, Gulf Coast State College and Florida State University – Panama City Campus, for their support of the application.