One year since the Panama City Mall closed, what locals want to see

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Before October 10, 2018, the Panama City Mall was the shopping mecca for those in town.

Its officially been one year since the Panama City Mall closed after sustaining severe damage from Hurricane Michael. (WJHG/WECP)

"It was the place," said Panama City resident Rick Reinstatler.

Now, it's been a year since mall officials announced they were shutting the doors after it sustained severe damage from Hurricane Michael.

"Well it's kind of sad you know," said Panama City resident Bill Demouy.

"Well I was really sad," said Reinstatler.

"It's really sad to see something that played a vital part in Panama City versus out at the Beach," said Panama City resident Teri Burlison.

For these three residents, there's now no quick trips to the mall.

"When I wanted to go some place, just shop and have some meals at the food court, or go to the movies, it was quick and easy. When they closed it down I thought man the city's dying," said Reinstatler.

Residents say going over the bridge can be a hassle.

"It's just really a sad thing that you got to drive way out to Pier Park and fight everybody out there and yeah it's just not a good thing," said Burlison.

But some residents have ideas of what they would like to see for the future of the mall.

"Some type of business, retail here you know, more diversity than what we had in the past but more outlet mall type stores," said Demouy.

"Turn the thing into a big open air bizarre sort of thing with a variety of shops and stores and restaurants, you know quaint little things, hopefully mostly local," said Reinstatler.

"I would hope to see stores come back in here," said Burlison.

While the area is still working to recover from the storm, these residents are also hoping a fresh shopping area will breathe new life into Panama City.

"Panama City's kind of forgotten a little bit, but we're still here and we still want a place to go shopping here in town," said Burlison.

We reached out to the city and they sent us a statement saying in part, "The owners of the mall are considering their options for redevelopment of the property and the city stands ready to help where possible."

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