Pier Park North – List of Stores NOT Coming, and Details About the Development

Jason Koertge has an awesome vacation rental business in Panama City Beach that focuses on remarkable properties around the Pier Park area.  They range from 1 to 3 bedrooms, they’re clean, and amazing.  He can be found at PCBLP.com.

There’s been tons of buzz about what’s happening and what’s not happening at Pier Park North.  There has been plenty of speculation about what it is, who’s doing it, why and how.  To add, there have been articles that have published a list of stores coming, then later changed to report that they were prospective stores.  Of course, all this adds to the buzz that is currently surrounding that whole area.  We’ve talked about Aaron Bessant Park improvements, a new Walmart and a Target expansion all in this little area.

So let’s talk about the facts, what we know and leave what we don’t know to another article where we can dream.

For clarification purposes, we’ll refer to the portion of Pier Park that is already developed as Pier Park South.  This is just to avoid confusion, it’s not actually called Pier Park South.

Who’s developing the mall.

Simon Property Group developed Pier Park South.  They bought the land from St. Joe and have right to use the name Pier Park – although the name is still owned by St. Joe; trademarked, really.  The Pier Park brand has been used to identify that area for many years.

Pier Park North is being dubbed such because of that control St. Joe has with the brand. They are leasing (or selling) the land to mall developer Glimcher.  Glimcher is a publicly traded company that has 24 mall developments in 15 states.

They have full-size conventional malls, strip malls and outlet malls and they are considered a genuine competitor to Simon Property Group.

But with this development, I don’t think it’s necessarily about the competition, but rather the growth in shopping options.

Size, shape and location.

The published square footage that will be developed is 396,000, which is 36% the size of the Pier Park we know on the south side of Panama City Beach Parkway.  This is plenty large enough to have several “anchor” stores intertwined with a variety of smaller shops.

One of the elements that sets Pier Park South apart from conventional outdoor malls is the way it was designed.  There are nooks, crannies and all sorts of other architectural individualities that really make it a fun place just to walk around.  There are alcoves, seating areas, large open areas for the kids to run and a variety of recreation areas.  These characteristics are what make Pier Park South a destination to not just shop, but to hang out.

Of course, this was done intentionally – people that hang out where stuff is sold tend to buy stuff.

From the plans, Pier Park North will not be this way.  The facade will be straight and flat.  There will not be tiered levels or shops that come out or are set back from others.  From a retail development optimization perspective, this is ideal.  This development method maximized square footage and ensures equal visibility to all stores.  However, this design will lack the character of Pier Park South.

Although no artistic renderings have been released, Panama City Beach City Planners are expecting the actual look to be consistent with Pier Park South: bright colors, hardy board plank siding, and some accent towers (think of the tower at Five Guys).

The location of the development will be due north of Pier Park South, will have frontage right on the Parkway and will back right up to a conservation area that will serve as a buffer zone between it and Palmetto Trace.

Pier Park North will have three points of entry from Back Beach Road and one point of entry from Pier Park Drive N.

About the stores that are coming.

The funny thing about submitting plans to the local planning authority is that one typically includes a list of potential stores to give the planners an idea of the size and type of stores that would or could come.  Typically the store logos on the plans are just for concept and don’t usually indicate any potential lease negotiations.

When Pier Park South was in the planning stages, I personally saw all sorts of names being thrown around.  I saw plans with Best Buy, Belks and a variety of others that never were necessarily intended to be tenants.  I was told over and over that I could not release these names because they were not necessarily being announced as potential tenants, they were just on the plans as examples.

The images of the plans here include logos, such as this.  However, none of these have been announced by the developer as signed lease holders.  In fact, we’re way too early in the game to even have a hint as to who would be coming to Pier Park North.  Typically mall developers won’t officially start releasing names until a predetermined amount of time before they’ll be open.

Here is a list of stores that have been speculated on, which some may come, but none have been officially endorsed as actually signing a lease.  Estimates based on the plans indicate there will be 20 to 40 stores with 7 to 15 anchor stores.

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Michaels
  • Fresh Market
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Kirklands
  • Ross Dress for Less
  • Shoe Carnival
  • Petco
  • Toys R Us
  • Rooms to Go
  • Men’s Warehouse
  • VisionWorks
  • Osaka’s
  • Cheddars
Images of the plans

This is an overview of the project.

From here you can see how the proximity of the development to the residential area.

As you can see, there are logos for retail shops.  This is in no way intended to document that these brands are actually coming to the development.

Again, more brand logos.  This is just to give you an idea of the type, size and location of stores like this.

This image gives us some hope of the tower-like structures that are found in the existing Pier Park development.


When the mall development will be open for business.

As of right now, the timeline plans indicate that construction will begin in March of this year with stores to be opening approximately one year later.  Of course, timelines are meant to slip and no dirt has been moved as of yet.  Although survey crew have been spotted on the property.

Location as it relates to Palmetto Trace.

What has seemed like q quiet community in the past, Palmetto Trace residents are in an uproar about this new development.  They’ve recently been very vocal about the Aaron Bessant Park improvements and they aren’t happy about a new mall development being erected so close to their homes.

Looking at the size of the buffer zone, it’s likely that many of the homes will be able to see the back of the mall development through some conservation area.  There is a pretty good distance between the back of the mall development and the homes, but also a large area of it is water, which doesn’t help much to buffer sound.

What are your thoughts on this new development?  Do you think it will help the community grow?  Do you think it’s a smart way to grow?  If you’re a Palmetto Trace resident, what are your thoughts on this?

42 thoughts on “Pier Park North – List of Stores NOT Coming, and Details About the Development

    1. hi,
      when i had my house built on biltmore place in 2003, the area behind me was zoned for business. so this is no suprise for me. i am concerned about hi-density lighting and night time garbage pick up. i think that can be resolved with everyone being involved with the permit stage. as we know our mayor and council persons do want they want to do and then ask for imput after the fact. remember this is election year.


    1. Bear in mind that there is nothing from the developer (Glimcher) that has confirmed a Fresh Market.

      Remember, we were going to get a Fresh Market in Pier Park a couple years ago (where the Marshalls is now), but they pulled out. Something about the market stats not being where they were comfortable.

      While a Fresh Market would be a very welcome addition – it may or may not happen.


  1. I really do hope they bring The Fresh Market. It would make a world of difference to foodies (selfishly meaning me) in Panama City Beach.

    I secretly dream of a Pei Wei as well 🙂

    I’m so exciting about the future of this town. Thanks for continuing to keep us updated!!


  2. I am always in favor of “growth” of any location and accept change….. but, these are really BIG stores that are listed and 20 – 40 stores this size is a really BIG development. These are certainly not the same type of shops that are in Pier Park. They are quaint and much smaller “boutique” type. I hope I can give this slight bit of caution and not offend any residence there…… please be careful building these larger shopping areas, sometimes they crowd out the beauty in which we all come to PCB to enjoy. I love coming to PCB on my vacations, I love to eat and shop some but, my main reason there is to enjoy what God has given us…… a beautiful white sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico.


    1. Hi Cathy!

      There has been no definitive explanation on what shops will be there. The estimation of 7 to 15 anchor stores and 20 to 40 smaller stores is all speculation based on the plans.

      You have to realize, most of these brands are not 50,000 sf stores. They’re 10,000 to 20,000 sf stores.


      1. Hello Jason…….
        Thank you, I went back & read over the column again & see what you are talking about now. We have most of these shops/restaurants in my area and they are somewhat big. I guess these will be the “anchor” stores….. then smaller ones as space in-detail on your blue prints above.
        I’m sure when they are built, Lord willing…. when I visit PCB I will be there to shop, eat and enjoy! lol lol
        “If you build it they will come!!”
        Thanks, Cathy/Tennessee


  3. As you’ll no doubt have guessed from my previous concerned posts about the existing traffic and number of accidents on Back Beach Rd, I’m a Palmetto Trace resident. Having looked at these plans, and now full realizing the size and extent of this development, I have to say I am pretty devastated. If this is how the final build will look, it seems there will be practically no buffer between the commercial and residential zoning at all. While I would love a new Chipotle or Fresh Market in town as much as the next guy, I don’t really understand why the planners would allow this concentration of stores right on top of neighborhoods like this (and off hand can’t even think of any other towns or cities where this mix of shops and homes has happened to this extent either).

    When you add in the planned Walmart to this new strip mall, I just can not envisage anything but traffic hell being the end result in this area. I would still love to see the traffic survey that was done that shows this level of development is even feasible.

    I hate to say it, but I think it is now time my family consider cutting our losses here (this is probably all bad news for our property values too of course) and selling up and moving out. We would not have moved into the community here 4 years ago had we known that the mall would literally envelop us like this.

    I realize I’m probably in the minority with my views, and always seem to be posting messages of doom and gloom here, but even if I was a non-biased spectator I would probably also view this as a death knell to all businesses along 23rd St over the bridge, and an unwelcome development for anyone who has to regularly commute along through the beach.


    1. These are valid concerns. I’m a little concerned about how they’re cutting into the conservation buffer with wetland mitigation. It would be nice if they could leave all those trees and figure out another way for them to mitigate all the impervious surface area – like on another plot away from this development.

      I hear ya on the traffic. This area will definitely continue to grow and traffic will continue to be a growing concern.


    2. I try to remain positive as well. But we should not overlook the fact that most developers will do a nuke and pave job UNLESS the community and its leaders demand better. In some places, communities said no to ugly concrete cell towers. And guess what, ATT put up towers designed to look like palm trees! Just Google, “Palm Tree Cell Tower is Now Live, Boosting Wireless Service, AT&T Says.”


  4. Developement is inveitible, however common sense needs to e used by all when doing so. If the PCB City Planner alway for a generic-type mall to be developed, the lack of visual appeal will keep a certain segment of the tourist traffic away, reducing customer volume. Lower sales volumes means less satisfied tenants, which will translate into eventual vacancies. We only need to look to Pensacola’s University Mall, which was recently completely razed, for confirmation of this.

    PCB needs to ensure that there is a mall comparable to Pier Park (South) and one that doesn’t entrued on the Palmetto Trace subdivision owner’s privicy.


    1. I think the plan for 32413 is for everyone to be traveling on Segways because of the future gridlock. I feel for you Palmetto Trace. Kind of dissappointing not have the same “character” of current Pier Park. Would like to see more different stores like Fresh Market.


  5. Very happy about Fresh Market and Dicks because we need those here for sure for the locals but other than that..the rest of the stores are same ole same ole.
    It would be nice to see the marketing professionals go after businesses that you don’t see in every medium sized town across the southeast.
    Just thinking out loud here but, if I were a tourist coming in from Atlanta or Birmingham would any of those stores draw me in…? Hardly, I can shop at those places back home.


  6. I am a Palmetto Trace resident. My house will be up for sale within 30 days, I am not staying for this abomination. St. Joe has F’ed us all. WHY THERE ?!?


    1. Hey Mark…. would think twice about putting your house up for sale. I live in Palmetto Trace and unless you want to loose your a$% on your house i would hang on to see what happens with this development. It might actually increase our property value.


    2. Mark, I have to agree with you about St. Joe…when I had my house built I was told that the area behind my intended house was a dedicated wet land by St. Joe and that no one would be able to build there…So I contracted and had my house built…the following year when I came back to PCB the so called dedicated wet land was cleared and a low rent apartment buildings were being erected on Alf Coleman to my surprise…and to this day I am still annoyed by the people who live in the apts. cutting thru our property and using our community pool which “I” have to pay dues for and I will not use it because of them.
      So much for St.Joe they are not for the people they are for the money and they will step on any one who gets in their way


  7. If you bought a house in Palmetto Trace, did you think that that piece of property was going to be vacant forever?? I am sure between the city of PCB and St. Joes/Glimcher, they are not going to let whoever come in and knock all the trees down and destroy all the wetlands. Look at the prints above: It looks like they are adding quite behind the buildings between Palmetto Trace. I think this is something we need down in PCB. Especially a Fresh Market and Dicks. Not to mention, the amount of jobs this will open up.


    1. You are “sure” they won’t knock all the trees down? Even after seeing the plans? Really?

      Other communities have moved on from this design. We have the opportunity to do it right. Once it’s built, too late.

      Walton County learned from Bay County’s mistakes. Why can’t we learn from our own?

      At the very least, the stores–not the parking lot–need to be on the road.

      Jobs and well-designed developments are NOT mutually exclusive.


  8. Similar new malls in other cities have been designed with the islands of trees, stores on the road, and the parking hidden behind, which is much more pleasing.

    Those communities stand up and demand better. We need to do the same.


  9. I live in Palmetto Trace and I’m not to happy about the new development. The Pier Park “South” style is one thing but a regular mall is not good news. PCB did it right with the Pier Park we have now. This “New” mall idea/plan is not good for anyone except the developer “Glimcher.” If you have to put something in that area, let Simon Property Group do it, they at least try to keep the beauty of nature in their planning style. South Walton has done their planning appropriately and PCB has in the past but this new development/monstrosity is bad for the landscape of Pier Park and PCB as a whole. Because of this development I fear Palmetto Trace will no longer be a quiet family oriented subdivision. Don’t get me wrong, I want all of those fun new store as well, just not in a big block of concrete or cement. We need to keep it in the same style that our current Pier Park is structured. It’s still a mall just less intrusion.


  10. I have owned and lived in Palmetto trace for that past 5 years and it has been great. Now that Wally World is going up across 98 and now this project I do not see such a bright future. I think the mayor and city council is more interested in money and not developing what the community wants. I know that we here in Palmetto trace we will be the losers in this deal. Our property value will go down, the noise and traffic will go up, and this quiet corner of PCB will be a hub for everything you don’t want in a sleepy, quite community. I personally think it SUCKS!


  11. As a life long resident of Bay County I really hate going to PCB. If this new development goes up I will avoid Pier Park like the plague. I feel for those residents living in Palmetto Trace.


  12. Coming from someone who used to live in Panama City( many years ago), I came back this year and was amazed/surprised at PCB! I loved pier park, and from a tourist point of view I think it’s great! It was like something out of a movie! The opening of other shops will also keep us from possibly needing to head into Panama City itself, which you have to admit just isn’t as picturesque!

    On the other hand, I understand peoples concerns. I now live in the UK and here everything is built on top of towns, there are no real limits, and what I mean by that is across the street is a Mazda car dealership. I can see Pizza Hut from my upstairs window. I walk out my front door and its 3 minutes walk to a major pet store, a carpet store, a McDonald’s, and several other stores. Less than 10 minutes walk is our local ‘superstore’ ASDA which is owned by Wal-Mart. To me, I see it as a convenience. Almost everything I get is done by walking because the traffic is so bad around here. But others see it as a nuisance. So I can understand wanting to conserve the nature and beauty, but also know that things have to grow and evolve eventually.

    I for one am looking forward to our family holiday in PCB next year! And I can’t wait to see what new developments will be done! 🙂


  13. Well……I’m not really pleased with any of it. There are a number of strip malls that are vacant on the beach as is. Why destroy perfectly good land. I am a palmetto trace home owner and my home is on bainbridge which backs up directly to this. At last nights board meeting, it was mentioned that they are leaving an easment of 30 feet behind my road, but this isn’t enough as is traffic noise is already a problem. So, there goes the property value. Too bad to, I loved living there. Anyone want to buy a house?



  14. Part of the appeal in buying my house was the preserve and wetlands behind our lot. We were told prior to purchasing our house that no one could build behind us due to the wetland area and any construction along highway 98 would never be noticed because trees would remain between us and the construction, again due to the wetlands. Now the plans indicate trees will be removed as close as 25feet from our lot line. Trading serenity for the view of dumpsters and cement walls and the sound of delivery trucks and garbage collectors certainly destroys the appeal we originally had for the place. I guess our hope now is that the developers aren’t so greedy as to ignore how they’re disrupting what so many people worked hard to achieve, but have the common courtesy to build a 12foot high berm between their eyesore and the properties in Palmetto Trace. Any support in that effort by the city would be much appreciated,


  15. I’m not a Palmetto Trace resident but have been an Open Sands resident for well over 30 years. I am always glad to see new and exciting development on the Beach. Tourism is really our only industry. I also feel bad for the Palmetto Trace residents because when it comes to big developments, residents concerns are pretty much ignored. Emerald Beach Resort was allowed to build an 8 story parking garage in my backyard and they didn’t even have to notify us beacause it was already zoned commercial. While they were building it my house was shaken so hard we had to have an engineer come out and check for foundation damage. It’s so close it actually looks like it’s attached to my house. It’s so loud during holidays and especially Thunder Beach twice a year that you can’t sleep at night. Couple that with the fire alarms that go off and takes hours sometimes to shut them down and it’s pretty hostile to a tranquil homelife. They were so arrogant about it, they wouldn’t even answer our lawyers letters. Our house has been on the market for a year and a half and we can’t even get people in the house once they see the parking garage. What’s even more unbeleivable is that the current Mayor lives a street over. So beware Palmetto Trace friends you are in for a lot of grief if you don’t get together and make sure they don’t infringe on your privacy. Good luck neighbors.


    1. I just read all of the posts and the only people complaining all live in one subdivision except for 1 guy from town. Im ecstatic about these shops and especially a west end Walmart. This subdivision also tried to strong arm the new ampitheater. There is a lot of people that will enjoy this project and you cant let one small group in a subdivision ruin it. Reminds me of the people against the airport


      1. We have lived in Palmetto Trace for 7 years and I am absolutely thrilled at all of this progress. Was personally thrilled when walmart came, now all this on our side of the road…..get us a grocery store close and pretty soon we want have to crank the car to go anywhere!!!! Get a life people you are in 2013……move on pcb!!!!!


      2. Where are the plans for the pedestrian bridge over 98 from pier park south to pier park north??? It’s gonna be needed.


  16. Hi Jason,

    Have you heard if there is going to be a belk store in phase 11 of pier park stores… or if Cheddar’s restaurant is still coming…




  17. Hi can you tell me if Costco is going to open a store in Panama City Beach? I heard rumors, but can’t find any info.
    Than you


  18. Do you know when they are going to open the cheddars their entire park. Love that place can’t wait please let me know thanks


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