Panama City Beach plans to develop land parcel off Thomas Drive

Panama City Beach

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– The Panama City Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is looking to partner with developers to develop a piece of land that is now being used as a community parking lot.

The 3.8 acre land parcel is located on Thomas Drive and Front Beach Road, just across Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

The city plans to include a parking garage, a tram maintenance location and a new location for the Middle Beach Fire station.

After realizing the land parcel still had space, the city said they are beginning to look into entering a public private partnership with a developer to develop a portion of the land for retail use.

“It’s a win-win in that land costs are typically in these deals, and they are minimal since we already own the land, so it takes that out of the equation for the developer,” said C.R.A. Manager, David Campbell.

The city is asking developers interested in the project to submit proposals to the City Manager’s Office by October 30, 2020.

Some locals expressed concern about the project, as Front Beach Road is already a highly saturated area.

William Manning has been a resident of the area for 35 years, and while he said new business may be good for the area, he is concerned about congestion.

“It’s just going to be a lot more traffic,” Manning said.

 “I feel like its kind of pointless, and we already have Pier Park, it’s big enough,” resident Mark Lane said.

While Campbell acknowledged the concerns of residents, he said that the funds from the land leasing agreement of the new property will go toward the funding of C.R.A. projects that will improve infrastructure.

“What we’re doing on Front Beach Road is we’re adding additional lanes, and the lanes that we’re adding will be for a tram lane,” Campbell said.

Campbell hopes that the continued improvements and the addition of the tram will help to mitigate traffic.

The City Council of the City of Panama City Beach, Florida, will consider the proposed development of the property at its regularly scheduled meeting to be held at 6:00 PM on Thursday, November 12, 2020.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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