Panama City Mall will become a residential space, a hotel
PANAMA CITY – The nearly vanished Panama City Mall property appears to have a residential and commercial future.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting, the Panama City Commission voted unanimously to approve a recommendation by an applicant to change the current commercial land use and zoning of the property at the Mall of 54 mixed-use acres, which would allow for a mix of office, retail and residential units. The approval was to submit the recommendations to the state; a vote for embrace the change will come later.
“This is a very positive decision for Panama City, there is no doubt about it,” said Mayor Greg Brudnicki. The development will be “something comparable to the new construction across the street (Bay City Point)”.
Following:GALLERY: Return to the Panama City Mall
A site map shows the potential for a 375-unit apartment complex with two outdoor pools, a neighboring four-story, 95-room hotel and approximately 600,000 square feet of commercial development. Best Buy, JCPenney, Dillard’s and other retailers currently operating in or near the mall appear in the plan. However, official sitemap details are pending.
Owners Hendon Properties and Seritage Growth Properties (Sears Holdings) are in discussions with the Department of Transportation regarding a plan to expand one of the roads, according to a representative of the project who spoke to the commissioners at the meeting . Zoning is expected to be completed by the end of the year, followed by a formal plan to be presented to the city by spring, officials said.
The project will join other large developments scheduled to begin construction next year in Panama City.
The St. Joe Company has entered into a lease with the city for a 120-room bay-front hotel and restaurant at the Panama City Marina. St. Joe officials said they plan to launch the $ 20 million project by the middle of next year.
Additionally, the commission recently approved design plans for The Park Villas, an $ 18 million four-story, 120-unit apartment complex to be built in the former Buccaneer Motel website. The first groundbreaking is scheduled for January.
Commissioners had little further comment on the mall project on Tuesday, but expressed relief that action was taken for the 44-year-old mall. The mall closed in 2018 after Hurricane Michael severely damaged much of it.
Brudnicki said city officials don’t know what will happen to the mall, but, touting the owners’ collaborative efforts, there is renewed anticipation.
“It’s just another positive thing coming out of the hurricane,” he said. “I am very optimistic with this.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Commissioner Billy Rader. “It’s big.”