PANAMA CITY, Fla. - New developments are coming to Panama City, as city leaders look forward to filling many of the empty lots around the area that other businesses have left behind.
"The good news is that the Hawkins Property is moving forward and they've got a phase one that's moving forward and there are a number of buildings that are coming out of the ground," said Planning and Economic Development Director Mike Lane.
The Hawkins property developer, Ledbetter Properties L.L.C., have named the project Bay City Point, and plan to fill it with businesses new to Bay County.
"The second phase will be forthcoming. That will be when the big anchors will be laid out," said Lane.
Phase one plans show at least three restaurants on the 23rd Street side of the property.
Chick-Fil-A has already submitted their site plans to the city, and if approved, their building will be part of Bay City point on the corner of 23rd Street and Highway 77.
Once that new Chick-Fil-A is built, restaurant staff have confirmed to News 13 that the Chick-Fil-A on Highway 231 will be closing.
However, Bay City Point isn't the only new development coming to town. The old Genghis Grill restaurant, on 23rd Street for instance, will be turned into something new to the area.
"There is activity. There are plans to break that building up into three different suites and we know two of the suites will be restaurants," said Lane.
There's been some speculation that a Cracker Barrel may be heading to Panama City.
Even though city leaders have not confirmed if the rumors are true, Cracker Barrell has posted a job opening for a restaurant manager for a Panama City location on the LinkedIn website.
City leaders said all of the restaurants coming to the area are all things the city does not currently have.
"We're working with a tenant for the old Sports Authority space and there's also an out parcel at Target that most people aren't aware of and it will also most likely be a restaurant," said Lane.
The old Albertson's building off of 23rd Street is also currently being renovated. The Bealls Outlet Corporation has confirmed to News 13 that one of their stores will be going into that building, and that store will be opening in late February.
"For us, it's been years in the making. The Hawkins property alone is something that we've been working behind the scenes with a development guy for at least two years," said Lane.
We're still a couple months out from seeing any actual construction of the new Chick-Fil-A, the city has to approve the overall Hawkins property site, before they actually are able to issue Chik-Fil-A, a development order.
The plans will go to the planning board and the city commission for approval.
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