Phase one underway for new Margaritaville resort
Beyond the traffic cones and behind the chain-link fence, phase one has begun for the new Margaritaville resort.
"Right now, what they're doing is some site work for the first phase that's planned, which is a 201-room hotel, a 71-unit condominium," said Panama City Beach Director of Planning and Building Mel Leonard.
The resort will be located off Front Beach Road, next to Crane Street. Officials' plans reveal much more is in store. Developers plan to build condos, single-family cottages, and a two-acre lagoon.
Phase one is just the beginning. Leonard says a building permit has yet to be submitted.
"Once they get the building permit, that they're compliant with all the state and local building codes, then they can actually start beginning construction," said Leonard. "So, it could be possible towards the end of this year, first part of next year, that they might be eligible to go ahead and really get started with construction."
Some Bid-a-Wee residents have noticed the construction, and say they aren't happy.
"We weren't expecting to have a resort built next to us since we are a residential neighborhood and we'd like to keep it that way," said Crane Street resident Donna Martin.
Some concerns include adding to the area's traffic woes.
"Anybody who lives in this area or in PCB knows, in general, that the traffic on Front Beach Road and Middle Beach Road where the intersection is, is just a nightmare," said Martin.
Officials say there isn't much they can do, but they're trying their best. This means encouraging future visitors to leave their cars at the resort.
"We're going to see other modes of travel, so people can come and park their cars when they come and stay," said Leonard. "They can walk, bike, take an Uber."
Other concerns are directed toward the entrance points to the resort. Leonard reassures Bid-a-Wee residents that Crane Street is off-limits.
Leonard says they expected the resort to be finished in seven years, but the master plan has a predicted completion date in 2028. He says it will all depend on the economy and the success of phase one.