Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As we draw 2008 to a close with 2009 fast approaching, we celebrate another fantastic year of growth and prosperity.  Ok, so maybe this year wasn’t as prosperous as I had hoped, but in the pcbdaily world, we’ve grown more than I had ever anticipated.

I wanted to take a second and wish you a very merry Christmas, or happy holiday for whatever you may be celebrating.  This is a joyous time of year and a time that should be spent with those you love.

In fact, I’m taking some time off to hang with my family.  We just had a new baby (Benjamin), we’ve enjoyed a recent birthday for one of our other kids and we look forward to spending as much time together this holiday as possible.

I have a couple of stories brewing, but I don’t think I’ll be posting anything else this week.  This means no newsletter Tuesday morning.

I just want to give a special shout out and vote of thanks to my newsletter advertisers, and all my other advertisers for that matter.  Without them, pcbdaily wouldn’t be here.  Support pcbdaily by supporting our advertisers.

Historically Low Mortgage Rates Should Kick-Start Housing Market

Through a series of rate cuts and capital market tinkering, the Federal Reserve has finally managed to push down long term mortgage rates to levels not seen in nearly forty years. The rate on the conforming thirty-year,  fixed-rate mortgage was hovering close to 5% on Friday as the yield on the ten year treasury note sank to 2.07%. This thaw in the mortgage credit market is a welcomed sign that the ingredients are coming together to hopefully re-energize the comatose housing sector.

This huge swing came after the Fed lowered the funds target rate to a range between 0% and .25%.  This marks the tenth time for the Fed to cut rates in the last 15 months.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported a surge in mortgage application activity over the past week as homeowners rushed to refinance their existing mortgages.  The combination of low rates and low housing prices should also create some demand in the purchase money market as well as consumers look for safe investments in these difficult economic times. Though a flood of buyers is unlikely, we can be optimistic that the first quarter of 2009 and beyond may see an increase in real estate sales and, hopefully, an end to home price declines.

For this and more, visit my blog at www.activerain.com/blogs/hpalmer

Hunter Palmer

Dune Enhancement, Vegetation Planting, Sand Fencing – TDC Seek's Comments

The Bay County TDC is planning a dune enhancement project for Panama City Beach. This project is in the design phase, and the Bay County TDC is seeking comment on the design from the community. The TDC anticipates construction of the project in fall 2009, and project funding will originate from local bed tax dollars (beach nourishment fund) and a state cost-sharing grant.

In general, the project will include planting vegetation only for areas that have significant dunes, sufficient beach width, and/or existing sand fencing. In areas that lack a significant dune but have sufficient beach width, the project will include planting vegetation and constructing sand fencing.

The idea is to protect our beach against natural erosion and help beautify the very thing that makes our area so awesome.  We need to protect our sand dunes.

The draft plans for the dune vegetation and sand fencing project can be reviewed online by clicking here or a hard copy of the plans can be reviewed at the Bay County TDC at 17001 Panama City Beach Pkwy, Panama City Beach, FL 32413.

These plans are preliminary and designed for comment from the Panama City Beach Gulf side property owners and the Bay County TDC. In particular, please contact the Bay County TDC at 850-233-5070 if you are a Gulf side property owner, and you do NOT desire vegetation planted and/or sand fencing constructed as proposed.

New Publix to Open in 6 months on Back Beach Road

_mg_6416_2wtmkWith vertical up and sheetrock going in, the new Publix on Back Beach Road across from Home Depot in Panama City Beach will be complete by April and open by May.

Located at the intersection of Beckrich and Back Beach Roads, the new Publix will replace the old one currently located at Middle Beach Road and Beckrich where Sonic and PostNet are located.  My sources tell me that they will lease out that commercial space as soon as it is vacated.

_mg_6416_2wtmkThe design and architecture will be just like that seen at the other new Publix on Thomas Drive at Magnolia Beach Road, going into Bay Point.  Featuring all new equipment, the employees are excited about the move.

In addition to a new Publix, this particular parcel will sprout an Office Depot as well as a Dunkin Donuts, finally.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Ultra-Modern Design comes to Laguna Beach

_mg_6324_2wtmkAs I pull into the driveway, I’m greeted by the charm of old-style cottage and contemporary modern blended together in this new world Laguna Beach Cottage. Covering the driveway and sidewalk areas are Florida native pebbles and small rocks that provide an aesthetically pleasing affordable alternative to concrete.  “I’m a sucker for modern, utilitarian architecture and loved the charm of Laguna Beach,” said David Reich, owner and designer of the newest home in Laguna Beach on the west end of Panama City Beach.

_mg_6243_2wtmkThe front door and accompanying windows, in addition to the back door and accompanying windows can all be covered by a sliding corrugated aluminum door.  “The whole house is hurricane proof,” said Reich, “all the windows are impact resistant, and the front and back of the house with the most windows can be easily covered.”

The doors are of his design.  He was trying to think of an easy solution to protect the windows in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm with out having to round the house bolting on planks or special and expensive shutters.  They have rollers on the bottom and glide on sliders that secure the door on the top.  On each side, there is a slide-bolt to keep it in place as the wind picks up.

_mg_6299_2wtmkThat same corrugated aluminum paneling adorns various other parts of the exterior finish.

Reich’s family has deep roots in Laguna Beach.  Having owned property in that area for years, his wife has ties to Laguna Beach from 1938.  This modern cottage is built on a ‘half-lot’ sized 50×65.

For years he had wanted to build something on this lot, and finally, in July 2007, his dream had become a reality with the permits being approved.

_mg_6294_2wtmkHe’d always wanted something modern, utilitarian, efficient and awesome looking.  The end result is a modern cottage constructed of Transconsteel planks with bare concrete floor, exposed wood cabinets, high ceilings, and very tall walls.

“The whole house is an igloo,” said Reich.  “Insuring was odd at first because the house is so resistant to everything the agent we were working with almost didn’t know how to handle it, our premium ended up being less than $750 a year.”  The house is hurricane, mold and termite proof with the only wood being in the trim work.

_mg_6260_2wtmkThe Transconsteel planks consist of a steel frame filled with polystyrene foam.  The outside is covered in stucco and the inside is sheet-rocked. The whole house was dried in in a week with the help of 5 guys and is held together with over 26,000 stainless steel screws.

Riech’s goal, along with his wife’s was to create an ultra modern look, hanging track halogens and a ceiling fan from an exposed steel beam in the main living area accented by an exposed a/c and heating duct.

_mg_6267_2wtmkAll the furnishings were purchased from IKEA.  “I fit everything in this house in the back of my suburban and drove straight from Atlanta.”

The whole house, including everything down to the furnishings including the pool but not the land cost $170 per square foot to build.  The energy bills are usually less than $100 and is perfect for beach-goers and loungers alike.

_mg_6314_2wtmkThe wade pool in the back is lit and accompanied by modern landscaping, flat surfaces, an outside shower and a chain to guide roof run-off water into a hammered finish, rock-filled pot.

The whole house was built with efficiency in mind.  The washer/dryer unit is located outside the heated and cooled space so as to iliminate heat disapation inside and keep inside cool.

for more background and pictures visit the Casa de Maraposa Blog.

First Ever New Year's Beach Ball Drop in Panama City Beach

Celebrate the start of 2009 with a bounce and a bang at the New Year’s Eve “Beach Ball Drop” in Panama City Beach, Fla.  Presented by Margaritaville and hosted by Pier Park, this first annual event rings in the New Year with live entertainment and fun activities for the whole family, including a spectacular fireworks display, amidst dazzling beaches and holiday lights.

Creating its own beachside version of Times Square, Panama City Beach will close the roads of Pier Park for pedestrian traffic only and host a street festival with live music, food, festivities and more.  To mark the start of the New Year, a larger-than-life illuminated beach ball will slowly descend from a 120 ft. tower, 12 stories high, at the stroke of midnight.

“The Beach Ball Drop is the first of what promises to become an annual tradition at Pier Park, Northwest Florida’s largest shopping, dining and entertainment venue,” remarks Felicia Cook, Director of Mall Marketing for Simon Property Group. “We are thrilled to play host to this one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve event and look forward to ringing in the New Year in Panama City Beach.”

Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with exciting activities for the entire family including live music, food, bounce houses, stilt walkers and face painters and a Florida Lottery “Prize Zone.”  The New Year’s Eve countdown celebration starts at 9:00 p.m. with more live entertainment, leading up to the awaited Beach Ball Drop at midnight.  The evening will culminate with a spectacular fireworks show over the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

“The New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop provides the perfect opportunity to visit Panama City Beach and become a part of history,” states Dan Rowe, president and CEO of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.  “We welcome locals and visitors alike to join us for a weekend of cheer and celebration as we kick-off 2009 in the world’s most beautiful beach destination.”

Help a Family for Christmas

Please come out to Shorehouse Furniture Saturday to meet Burnie Thompson, Jason Lent and myself and donate $5, $50, $1,000, or whatever you can to help get Marissa Amora’s 4 brothers new beds.  Every penny donated will be matched dollar for dollar by Shorehouse Furniture.

Update 8:50am – I just received word that Marissa will be there as well, come out and meet her!

The beds they are in are barely sleepable.  Help a family this Christmas.

Anything over and above the amount that is needed to purchase the beds will go to other things the family needs.

pcbdaily.com has committed $200 and I’ll drop the check off today or tomorrow.

Again, come out to Shorehouse Furniture anytime today or between 10 and noon Saturday to meet any of us and donate anything you can to help these great kids get into new beds.