What was a long time landmark in Panama City Beach and quite possibly considered a home away from home for many has now fallen peril to the almighty and deathly bulldozer. What was once the destination for families and spring breakers alike is now the resting place of mountains of rubble, re-bar and kitchen sinks.
Those of you that remember, The Fiesta Motel was a victim of the all encompassing “real estate boom” that launched Panama City Beach real estate prices through the sky. Demand went up so fast that prices were driven through the clouds and many MANY made real estate purchases in Panama City Beach that while at the time seemed irrefutable, in hindsight were short-sighted and quite detrimental to the future viability of their own portfolio.
Slated for a sprawling new resort development that was actually at one time a sponsor of PCBDaily, marketing was attempted, sales was attempted, but they just couldn’t get any traction on demand. That planned new creator of memories was suffering from the same ailment we were all suffering from – the looming scare-cession that would have us all in a choke hold for years. In fact, it wasn’t until recently (within the last 12 months) that real estate has started moving again with any measurable velocity, albeit at prices in some cases a fraction of what they were just four short years ago.
When the Fiesta Motel was purchased, it was operational and accepting guests. Although it wasn’t the nicest motel on the beach, many people still loved staying there. The new purchaser, however, had big plans that included elements on the beach AND across the street. The hotel wasn’t supposed to be there long before a number of condos were pre-sold and development was underway. I remember the optimism of the development team. I remember the excitement of a well planned vacation destination and the amenity rich dreams that were skillfully rendered on flashy expensive marketing collateral. I remember the hopes of having a new development on Panama City Beach that wasn’t just another concrete cereal box on the beach.
Well, months, even years went by. The old home of vacation and family memories turned to being scared by vandals and vagrants who obviously in their lack of maturity had nothing better to do on a Friday night than to go apply coats of spray paint on walls with illegible scribbles; I can only assume dreaming, themselves, of a time when they were still in diapers. The Fiesta Motel became an eyesore. People avoided the area so they wouldn’t have to look at it any more.
The City of Panama City Beach, in an effort to eliminate many of the dilapidated and condemn-worthy structures that peppered our beach, instituted an ordinance that allowed them to tear down the garbage and put a lien on the property for the cost. Others that have been demolished already through this ordinance are Salty’s, the Seascape Motel and Surfside Villas. The Fiesta Motel is gone. Left in its wake are huge piles of rubble with whiskers of re-bar sticking out of the top. The 3.2 acre property will soon be a 570 foot stretch of beautiful beach-front property. I have to say, it will be nice coming off Middle Beach Road onto Front Beach being able to see what makes our area so special.
Here are some phones we took a few months back: