Panama City Beach – Large Marina Planned for old Panama City Airport Site

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Thanks to the News Herald for this update.  Developers are moving forward to place a large marina at the end of the runway of the Panama City-Bay County International Airport once air operations move to the new airport near West Bay.

This will be a nice addition to the Panama City Beach Area.  There are not many places to keep a boat when you are visiting Panama City Beach.  I had a potential guest ask about parking and assess for a 24ft center console boat the other day.  The marina would be about 15 miles from our Condos for rent in Panama City Beach, FL  at Celadon Beach Resort.

Papers have been filed with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a project that will include a half-acre open water or wetlands excavation and an 8-acre “uplands” excavation to make way for a marina with 117 wet slips and 230 to 240 dry storage slips.

The total project area is about 16 acres, including a “15.0-acre upland cut marina basin, a 0.7-acre entrance channel connecting to eastern Goose Bayou, and a 0.3-acre flushing conveyance connecting to western Goose Bayou,” according to DEP documents.

The marina is part of the redevelopment plans for the old airport site being put in place by the St. Andrew Bay Land Company, said Bill Cunningham, point man for the mixed-use project, which includes homes and apartments, walking trails and retail businesses.

“Part of what makes this property valuable is its access to the water,” Cunningham said Friday.

A community open house was held last summer during which residents could view conceptual ideas for the 700-acre site that envisioned different types of residences as well as a possible marina and large, light-industry employer.  Cunningham said plans for the marina were filed with the DEP and the U.S. Corps of Engineers in late January. Papers filed with the DEP call for construction to begin in 2011 with a completion date of 2016.

“No permits get issued unless we meet their criteria,” he said, noting that “sea grass issues” may come into play. “The agencies will ensure that there are no adverse impacts to the environment,” he said.  Cunningham said a comprehensive plan for the entire 700-acre site was submitted to Panama City officials in December.  “We are just in the top of the first inning,” he said. “This is consistent with what we have always planned. Now we are just waiting for the process to move forward.”

St. Andrew Bay Land Company is a subsidiary of Leucadia Financial Corp., which purchased the land from the airport for $56.6 million in 2007. The money was a critical element in the $318 million financial package to build the new airport.  Ownership of the current airport site will be transferred to St. Andrew once air operations are relocated to the site of the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport near West Bay in late May.

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