Plans for a new apartment complex on Beach Drive are put on hold

Panama City

PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Plans for a new apartment complex on the old Buccaneer Motel property have been in the works for months but now those plans are on hold. 

Panama City officials say the developer called off the project two months ago.

As many residents remember this property was once a motel and bar.

It was shut-down before Hurricane Michael severely damaged the building, making it a huge eyesore. 

The city demolished the building in 2019 with the promise that they would make something beautiful.

When a developer proposed new waterfront apartments, many were excited.

This was supposed to be a 120 unit complex with a trolley drop off and public green space. 

The developer, Tom Murphy, brought his project to the city commission in August of 2020.

They liked it but felt the plans lacked parking and didn’t meet city code. 

The plan had 120 parking spaces for 120 units, which the commissioners said isn’t enough. 

They asked Murphy to adjust and resubmit the plans, which he did.

Commissioners approved that concept at their October meeting. 

Now over six months later people are wondering when construction will begin.

The answer is, we don’t know.

On March 3, 2021 Murphy put the project on hold due to a disagreement with the city about funding. 

City officials say they planned to refund half a million dollars in ad valorem tax incentives over a period of time, but that Murphy wanted it up front.

Murphy emailed the city saying they stopped work due to the concerns over pricey material and the inability to come to an agreement with the city.

However, Murphy does still own the property and could resume the project in the future if he chooses.

He also said he’s assessing his options while also marketing the property to third parties. 

We reached out to both the developer and the city for interviews. Neither side agreed to talk.

So now the question remains what will happen to this prime piece of property?

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