Powell Adams Walmart is Official

In a meeting this morning with Mel Leonard, the Planning Director for Panama City Beach, it was confirmed that a new Walmart coming is official.  The location will be at the corner of Powell Adams Road and Panama City Beach Parkway (Back Beach Road) and the store size will be 156,000 square feet, roughly 70% the size of the existing Panama City Beach Walmart Supercenter.

At this point, the type of store this will be is just speculation.  Although it has been said that this will be a higher-end store that would better compete with Target than the current Super Center.

Recently a new Walmart store was opened on the west end of South Walton County.  I personally suspect the new Panama City Beach store would be similar to this one.

Improvements to Powell Adams Road

In order to get approval for construction of a new place of business this size, an extensive traffic study had to be completed.  As a result of the traffic study, Walmart is required to pay for the infrastructure improvements that are needed in order for this area to handle the increased load that will come.

Improvements include:

  • Powell Adams Road widened to 4 lanes with center turn lane (5 lanes total)
  • Widening to be taken 1700 feet down Powell Adams from PCB Pkwy
  • PCB Pkwy and Powell Adams Road intersection to be signalized
  • Three PCB Pkwy entrance points into plaza
CRA-grade improvements to Powell Adams

The part where Panama City Beach (and us as residents) come out on top is that Walmart has agreed to “over-improve” Powell Adams Road to the same standard as R Jackson Blvd and Churchwell Road.

Improvements  that come with this “over-improvement” include:

  • Sidewalks
  • Curbs
  • Underground utilities (a huge added bonus)
  • Landscaping
  • Street lights

The requirement for construction doesn’t include many of these aesthetic improvements, but the city has agreed to reimburse Walmart up to $790k for adding those improvements in their infrastructure construction.

The CRA would have done this eventually, and will finish off Powell Adams Road on down the road, but for now, we’ll get an upgraded roadway for a fraction of the cost it would normally be.

Development timeline

At this point, a concrete start date on construction has not been set, but officials are optimistic (and on target for) a construction start date of spring of 2012 with a projected open date of spring 2013.

Keep the comments coming, they’re read

Past articles on this subject have resulted in a very lively discussion.  I can assure you that our local officials read PCBDaily and read the comments. Keep ’em coming.


58 thoughts on “Powell Adams Walmart is Official

  1. In my opinion this isn’t over-improving, it’s over-populating. I wonder when exactly this was traffic survey completed? Height of Summer? Is it available to the public? I also wonder if any other locations in PCB even ever considered, or was this always the assumed end result? With so many serious accidents in the stretch I want to see how they think adding three new PCB Parkway entry points into this plaza and a supercenter’s load of traffic to come in and out of them will ever be safe? Or will they be adding lights at each of the 3 new entries?

    Were the thoughts & feelings of the two neighboring communities who are now going to have to live with this on their doorsteps ever considered or investigated? I see no mention of any improvements to the equally lethal junction at Hills Rd / Palmetto Trace next door either? Will the traffic here just be left to get exponenentially worse with the new lights just a block down? Or is that going to be one of the 3 new entry points perhaps?

    Yes, by the length of this post I guess you can assume I’m disappointed by this latest “stuff it all into Pier Park” news. I bet the Target employees in particular are just over the moon about it too! I just hope that the over improvement & landscaping doesn’t end up being the same as that never ending roadwork and cone display that’s outside their other store in town!


  2. I would like to see a Wal-Mart on this end. However, I think a better place would have been somewhere on HWY 79. It’s only a mile or two down the street, and would cause a lot less traffic in already congested areas. Soon we are going to need a Back, Back Beach road in order for locals to get to where they need to go.


    1. Not soon, it’s already here. Traffic on Back Beach is awful and PCBPD does ZERO traffic enforcement. If I wanted to drive 40MPH I would take Front Beach. The accidents will only increase with additions to Back Beach that don’t improve the roadways as well.


  3. Come on PCB you already have one Walmart why do you “need” another one right next to Target @pierpark? Oh that’s right “jobs”, “competition” with another major Big Box player sounds more like those idiots in Washington playing politics this is over saturation and you know in winter when the visitors bleed off the profits will bleed off as well Not a good decision.


  4. Wow, that’s pretty close to us. I love WalMart but not too fond of the Supercenter – just too big and always seems hectic. I look forward to a little smaller one. I like that Target, too, and look forward to being able to shop at both. Very convenient having them so close together.


  5. I think the only good that will come of this is that there will be a traffic light put in at powell adams and bbr. I think that a new walmart would have been better either on 79 or further west…. I already dont shop at walmart on the beach and probabaly wont shop at this one. As a local I do not have the patience to deal with all the people…My time is precious and having to wait 30 min in a check out line is ridiculous…..


  6. Stupid is a s stupid does.

    This is a disaster for Pier Park and the residents of PCB. Look at the rat hole that Wal Mart operates on the other side of town and now you let them build another right next to the ONLY retail that is pleasant in the ENTIRE county.

    The location on the East side is filthy, dangerous and a major eye-sore.

    Great idea.. reward a retailer that runs a rat hole. Why not open a Purple Haze shop next door and a strip club. Better yet a Condom Knowledge store that sells drugs to kids. That would be awesome and really stick to the theme already present on the other end of the beach.

    The best part of this is that we are borrowing the money to build the road for this from Wal Mart. Aint that cute!

    PCB will remain what it is (down market) with this type of planning and stupidity.


    1. The CRA will pay for the road improvements… we’re not borrowing for it. When the CRA was set up, it was designated for road improvements, so this is just doing it a little ahead of schedule. The money for the CRA comes from the incremental increase in taxes from when the CRA was set up (early 2000s) for 20 or 30 years (I forget exactly how long).


    2. jayzzz,

      If u dont like the east side, dont go there. The folks that live there dont feel the same way u do. They also dont care for pier park and as u say “pleasant.”


  7. Now Now….. Let’s all look on the bright side here for a moment. This store will not only create new jobs for area residents it will make it lots easier for visitors who stay up on the West end of 98 to shop at this Wal-Mart (even if it is a smaller one) instead of traveling all the way down Front Beach road to the “Mother” store.
    This will take some of that dredded traffic off that pathway and distribute it more evenly. It will make life easier for everyone concerned & take an uninhabited area and beautify it.
    Remember with growth of an area comes change…. it’s bad to say but most residents of communities do not handle “Change” well. Growth brings a boost in your economy & many new jobs.
    Change must come & come it will. For me, I can’t wait to shop at the new one in 2013 when I stay up on the West side. If we stay on Thomas Drive side I will go to the old standby. That for many will save time and fuel.
    Have a good weekend & ya’ll stop fretting so! 🙂


      1. I welcome Walmart on the west end, but agree that down Hwy 79 would have been a better location for many reasons. It kind of takes the upscale image away from the Pier park area.


      2. That’s cute, i love it when people say upscale and Panama City in the same breath. Just goes to show the people here, and running the place are idiots.


      3. Calling another Wal Mart progress or change is nuts. This place will become a rat hole just like the one on the other side of town. Wal MArt should be forced to clean up that dump before opening another.

        Why not wrap your head around this one… Wal Mart KILLS growth. Don’t believe it? Look at all the low rent junk around the current location.

        Its the little guys like Mr. Surf, Half Hitch, Thomas Donuts and Finns that keep people coming and employed not the slave traders like Wal Mart.

        Ask yourself…Would you open a business next to a Wal Mart? and if you did… would it survive?

        Don’t fall for cheap beer and paper towels!!!!


      4. Hunny, when a company the size of Wal-Mart builds and shoppers spend as much $$$$ as they do there… it is progress especially in our present economy.
        Low rent ratholes…… where? Believe me I don’t think (The Shores of Panama) or (Laketown Wharf) are to be considered “Ratholes” There is nothing rentable ajoining Wal-mart…. Pompano’s, been there for many years & turned over no telling how much $$$$. Next door is an Alvin’s shop, long time shop owners & not a rathole either. Now please don’t tell me your speaking about Micky D’s? hahahaa YOU better do your homework sir. These business have made so much profit in the years they have been there it is unthinkable.
        By the way, my head is currently straight, pretty & has never “fell” for cheap beer! lol lol 🙂


      5. I’m going to have to agree with Cathy here, JayZZZ.

        There are no “adjoining” properties to the other Walmart and the businesses around it have done very well. In fact, there has been a development boom in that area over the last two years bringing in Krystal, Dollar Tree, a new fantastic BBQ place, Ripley’s, and Wonderworks.

        In addition, a variety of businesses have done well around there over the last 4 or 5 years including McDonalds (inside and outside Walmart), KFC, Backyard Burger, Walgreens, Pompanoes and Zaxby’s.

        The Walmart has done a very good job of keeping it clean and they’ve recently redone a ton of stuff inside, including new signage, a more organized layout and all new registers.

        If you’ve had a bad experience in there, remember, during certain times of the year, they actually do more sales volume in a single month than any other store of theirs worldwide.

        The reality of this situation is that there is a huge vacant piece of land next to Pier Park that the owner would like to turn into money. If not Walmart, then what would work here?


    1. As a resident I have always been a big fan of Pier Park and the ‘change’ it has bought. Although I am not in favor of this Walmart coming to this specific location I am not a naysayer against all the positive changes and growth we continue to see here.

      I disagree with you that a Walmart here will be a boost to the economy though. Long term I think it will only damage the great work that has been done to make Pier Park stand out, and in time it will cause damage to the whole reputation it has built. I also disagree that the new, near minimum wage, type jobs that come with a Walmart store are in any way a positive benefit. In time I am convinced that other jobs in the immediate area will suffer as a direct result of Walmart as they cannibalize the local businesses.

      My main concerns here though remain related to the traffic on Back Beach Rd here. I am all for change, but this area is obviously already over capacity. Adding a super center and THREE new entry ways on to Back Beach Road is just not a good move. Besides, adding more traffic lights and more concentrated traffic to this dangerously congested stretch of road (which unlike Front Beach was originally intended as a by-pass for quicker A to B times) just means we will all be wasting more time and fuel every time we are anywhere near it.


      1. I do agree with you Jeremy… Pier Park certainly does stand out & I do like it.
        But…… IF the Simon Company did not want anything else built around it they would have purchased “all” the land up for sale around it, in which they did not. Sorry
        I will say this much, you really need to check into just how many people work for Wal-Mart & just how much they make. It is obvious you do not know. If it is such a terrible place to be employeed at… then how do you figure so many like to work there? Nowadays people are “lucky” to be employeed and at least earning an honest paychect & not in the unemployment line or waiting for the postman to bring a wellfair check. My thoughts, I am proud of anyone who will work! That my friend is the “positive” benefit!
        Traffic…. You like being a “Beach” community that welcomes travelers, then you will always be dealing with traffic. I dare think you would stand up in a PCB town meeting & convey to the city officals that tourism must be put to a stop because it brings too much traffic to the area.
        I do respect your opinion as much as I can.


      2. The strip of land on the other side by Aaron Bessant, “Pier Park West” has been cleared and ready for new building for years, so there should be no surprize to anyone of more planned growth here. I just feel that this particular choice of business doesn’t fit well. Moreover, the specific geographic location, between two already very dangerous intersections, including the plan of adding 3 new exits onto Back Beach from the new plaza, means, in my opinion, that it will take a lot more than just new traffic lights and extra lanes at Powell Adams to make this stretch safe. The problem is with the load on 98 itself, not Powell Adams. I do agree with the other posters here that a lowered speed limit here would probably also help a great deal here.

        I’m always in favor of sound plans that attract more tourists, and realize that increased traffic will always come with. But the strategic growth shouldn’t be planned if it affects the existing popularity of an area over the long term, or at the expense of safety. Neither should it be dictated by corporate entities on terms of ‘loaning’ money to get their shoe in the door wherever they want it. This location is already too congested, and the infrastructure needs to be improved already, before adding anything new.

        Any job is a good job, and I meant no disrespect in my earlier post to Walmart employees. However, not every retail job that a new business brings to PCB needs to be stuffed into Pier Park, especially if at the potential risk to those already there. I agree with the other posters here who felt a site further West or on 79 might have made more sense. Sorry for the essay, I won’t post on this topic again, I promise :-).


    2. Exactly Cathy, depending on where you stay…

      You are from Tennessee, you are not going to feel the additional impact to the low property values that will be further destroyed by this Wal-Mart coming in. If we were talking about a rural area with no infrastructure, Wal-Mart could be a good thing. This Wal-Mart is going in between established middle upper end communities…it WILL negatively effect property values!! And it WILL negatively effect the small boutique businesses in Pier Park that have worked SO HARD to bring business back to PCB…they deserve better than for the City to SELL OUT to another big box retailer that will steal business from them. Keep your opinions to yourself until you have skin in the game.


      1. Funny…… I see people as yourself just at face value…. funny. If and only if at anytime soon you can get your nose out of the clouds for one moment you might realize that none of the businesses of Pier Park will be “ruined” by who is shopping or what they are buying up the road.
        I guess it was the way you said: This Wal-Mart is going in between established middle upper end communities…it WILL negatively effect property values!! Why didn’t you just say: UPPER CRUST, sounds alot like good old fashioned snobbery to me!
        You have not checked the property values around the Wal-Mart on Front Beach Rd….. your writing is a dead give away to this. Please do so before you make yourself look any more-so a comedian.
        Rural Area…. well as I see it that area surly is not!
        WHY don’t YOU purchase the property then? lol lol
        Just for your information & yours alone sweetie, some of us Tennesseans have the common sense to do background work before we open our mouth. My advise to you: It’s always best to check facts & figures beforehand.
        Our family & friends have stayed up & down the beach from the West End side and as far down as the Thomas Dr. side… in the best of the best and all in between. We have shopped in all areas and enjoyed every moment there.
        Besides, as much money as I give to the Florida’s economy each year I am truly entitled to give my opinion here…. and enjoy laying my tanned skin on the beautiful white beaches I love so much.
        You should be ashamed, I am ashamed for you!
        Bless your heart!


      2. Only one with there head in the clouds is going to be Cathy while she shops at Wal-Mart, maybe thinking she just got a piece of heaven or something. Guess it’s more upscale than that Tenn K-mart back home. I mean hell come on down and shop till you drop. I say we build and build and build as much as we can, then build the roads after that, oh wait we pretty much do seeing we always have to fix mistakes made on the initial plan. Shoot did i say plan, I’m not sure we ever have those. & if i see a “lol” again, really? What are you 12??


  8. Another filthy, dirty, big-box Wal-Mart store. We sure hope Wal-Mart, at least, has the decency to keep this Wal-Mart cleaner than the other PCB Wal-Mart … a real “whole in the wall”.


  9. This really makes NO sense! Is the public going to have any input on this? You already can’t get past Pier Park when there is any special event! What is this 5 lanes for 1700 feet. I’m not sure how long Powell Adams is but I bet it is longer than that! And, by the way, that road would not need to be 4 laned if they weren’t building there! NO way it should go there. I’m with the folks who think on/ or past Hwy 79 would be more traffic friendly! On 79 they wouldn’t have to loan us money to to pave a road for them!


    1. Why should the public have input into this? It’s private property, right? And it’s owned by St. Joe, as was all of Pier Park. Eventually there are plans to build a Back Back Beach Road (and another one beyond that even)… as the area up 79 gets developed.


      1. With that logic, I could build a road out of my backyard and erect the drive-thru tapas bar I always wanted. It’s private property, right? 🙂

        I don’t think the original plan was to keep clogging roads up and move to the next back, back, back one once gridlock was acheived either. What ever would happen to Gayle’s Trails?!


      2. Nice idea! Are you zoned for a tapas bar? I would like to place an early order for Albóndigas. 🙂 Yum.


      3. The public absolutely WILL have a say in this poor decision…with our wallets. I say make it a ghost town when it opens and make it loud and clear that the public’s desire to see a more sensible higher end grocery store that would go better with Pier Park has been completely ignored.


      4. Hey, I’m fairly new here and didn’t know there were plans for a fresh market? Do you know what the plans were? It sounds interesting. Maybe we could push for that in another location.


  10. I am a Walmart Fan, and I’ve read many comments here, pro and con. I must say that most of the problems with the super center on Front Beach Road being dirty is because they simply cannot handle the masses that come through that store! My gosh…I’m sure you’ve all been there on Saturdays when the weekly rental turnover of guests takes place. It’s a mad house!

    As far as I can see, many of the traffic problems on Back Beach Road (that will always be my name for it) come from the 55 mile per hour speed limit. It it too heavily traveled until you get past the West Entrance to PCB to have that high of a speed limit for so many travelers with so many roads coming into it that don’t have traffic lights. It’s nearly impossible to turn onto it without a traffic light, causing too many people to try to come out into the medians because of impatience, and cars speeding at 55 or above in both directions. Lower the speed limit on Back Beach, and you might start seeing less accidents, despite more development in the area.


  11. Another distributor for China
    We need to buy American Made items to get ahead of the economy crisis or what ever we are calling the down turn in money.


  12. This morning I see where many of you suggest that the Up-scale Image of Pier park will be tarnished with the building of a smaller Wal-Mart in that vicinity.
    You know if any of you nice people stop & think for just a split second…. do you not realize that if The Simon Company which owes Pier Park were just half as concerned as some you seem to be “THEY” would have purchased “all” of the land surrounding Pier Park to kept it on such an up-scale note.
    I do have one question about Pier Park: All of the children’s rides that were newly added are operated by young foreign (most non-speaking English) workers, where are the residents “youth” of PCB that these positions cannot be filled by them instead of people who cannot speak English? If a child were to get hurt…. could these no-speaking English workers get help? I noticed this while on vacation there in June taking my grandsons to enjoy these rides & activities.
    And please do not “jump” me saying I am against foreigners, I am not & believe they have ever right to work if legal in USA. I just wanted to know.
    You would be better off concerning yourself over this than a Wal-Mart that will give your residents jobs & income.
    Thanks, Cathy/Tn.


    1. Cathy this concerns me too, I don’t understand how all these temporary visas can be issued with the unemployment rate as high as it is. We have foreigners working in housekeeping, delivery, yard maintenance, and many miscellaneous positions.
      I assume that they are H2B Visas issued for so called seasonal work but many have been put into year around jobs.
      Where is the outrage on this practice???


      1. Gregg….. For the last two years we have went to Alvin’s (cave) Island on 98 & bought tee’s for the grand-boys, while there we noticed that most of the young girls could not speak English. We asked & all they could tell us were that they are from Russia & here going to “University” in PCB, plus they are there on work permits. They said nothing more. I just find it strange that no local young kids from PCB work in these places.
        But, folding tee’s is a far cry from managing rides and climbing activities where the young foreign workers cannot speak “English”. I just wonder where the “Youth” needing summer jobs are working in PCB? Surly some of these positions could be for Hometown area young people without bringing over foreigners.
        The H2B Visa’s (non-agricultural) issued for them to work here for minimum pay is hard to believe when we have a high unemployment rate. I think it’s the fact they will work for low pay but, when they send the funds home to their country they are sometimes doubled in worth. The Hispanics often do this with their relatives living in Mexico.
        Yes, it seems that the foreigners have scored in that area, thus leaving our job rate high for locals. Minimum pay is the key answer here. Our locals cannot work for such low wages.
        It’s a good “play” on the system.


      2. Maybe Jason can find out what is going on?
        Our condo’s cleaning service is 100% Russian, even the “supervisor”. We looked at furniture a couple of weeks ago, the delivery guys are Russian. as long as this is tolerated wages and benefits in the PCB area will always be depressed.
        The excuse is……cannot find any Americans that will work……..


      3. Maybe Gregg, it would be nice to know. I thought at first they were on a student exchange program but, looking at some of these people/employees, they really seem to old for that.
        Wonder if your PCB young students are in Russia working?
        Interesting to say the least.


    2. Jason, Are you going to censor Cathy’s posts here too? Looking at post no’s 22, 25, 45 or the unrelated xenophobic comments starting at no. 35, she appears to have been the one doing most of the personal attacking here. This is always going to be a heated topic, and readers are understandable divided on the pros and cons, but in my opinion it is not Jay who has been fanning the flames here. Thankyou.


      1. Nope. Not going to censor Cathy.

        Jay’s hitting below the belt, and using expletives. The spirit of the comments I’ve censored are much worse than anything Cathy has posted.

        Just to be clear, personal attacks and foul language will not be tolerated.


    3. Hi Cathy,

      I have a season pass for the Miracle Strip rides (ferris wheel, merry go round and the new ones). I went there last summer and this summer. There are mostly different people there every time I have gone and only a couple that remain the same. However, I do not recall ever seeing and/or talking with ANY non-english speaking folks. In fact, all but 1 have been school aged, American-English speaking, local youth. The other was local, American-English speaking and old. lol. I think they had one Mexican maintenance man but he spoke both Spanish and American-English.

      The only thing I wasn’t thrilled with was the HUGE, unfriendly dog one of the young, local employees brought to the place. Not her best choice….

      Most of the time the young folks there are VERY nice, polite and the ones that I’ve seen there more than one time remember my family.

      Even the other activities there – the ones that aren’t on the season pass… the train, the jumpy things, the pirate shoot out, the spiderman climby thing – all of them had American-English speaking young folks when I have gone.

      On a different note – over the 4th of July craziness, the Miracle strip folks handled the crowds quite well, at least while my family was there. The lines moved quickly, there was no fighting – it was a great experience for us.

      It’s strange that we have had such different experiences there. I have always felt pretty good about my experiences there and I hope that next time you feel more secure as well. Like I said, most of the time the staff seems to change so maybe it will be different when you come on your next visit. 🙂


  13. Once again Mr. Leonard has caved in to the pressures of investors and check books. It is very disappointing that such a nice guy can be so blatantly incompetent and in such a position of impact to the residents of Panama City Beach. This is a REALLY BAD move for the beach!!!


  14. Wow. The subject of Walmart is much more heated than I ever would have believed.

    I have been on the west end of the beach for only a year and a half. We just purchased a lovely foreclosed home here 7 days ago. So compared to many of you, we are still newbies. 🙂 We were transferred here by my husband’s company.

    1. I am glad I will not have to drive to Thomas Drive for specific products I can only get at Walmart.

    2. The traffic will get worse. Absolutely. It will likely be worse than the traffic around Alf Coleman and R. Jackson.
    * They should build a Back-Back-Beach road BEFORE they proceed with the Walmart.

    3. Compared to Destin or most of the towns across the west end bridge… MOST of PCB is a “rat-hole”. We looked at many houses to purchase and many neighborhoods. Even in nice areas like North Lagoon there are several “rat-holes” that should be demolished – not just areas around Walmart. I would MUCH rather live in a nicely manicured neighborhood and CITY. Maybe our residents should put up a bigger fight for improving the appearance of our ENTIRE city. Walmart will keep it’s property just as clean as the property surrounding it. I HAVE seen many very nicely designed, manicured and maintained Walmarts. And I can tell you, I haven’t seen so many dirty, unmaintianed homes and mobile homes in what could be a great beach community, in a long time. Worry about the existing eye-sores instead of Walmart.

    4. Walmart WILL happen regardless of what ANY of the citizens want because they have the money to make it happen. Money talks in this world.

    What I don’t understand – more than the logic of adding Walmart – is the other poor development planning here. Why would they build a lovely new Elementary School 2.5 miles away from Beach Elementary and NOT build it on the West end instead? The two existing, NEARBY schools are just fine. Then to add the middle school kids one year at a time and get rid of Surfside??? What genius came up with this plan? Who got paid for deciding to put the new school there? Anyhow….

    Don’t worry about Walmart. It is going to happen.

    Put up a fight instead for:
    1. Starting the Back-Back-Beach Road ASAP.
    2. Improving the look and landscaping of the ENTIRE city. Including getting rid of some serious existing eye-sores.
    3. Request that the city account for some of their existing and future poor expansion/development planning decisions.

    I too wrote a novel. Seems like once you get started it’s hard to stop! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s