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The concept of Pier Park North in Panama City Beach is beginning to solidify as more information has been released about it on a lease, development and management company’s website, Casto. If you remember, the buzz around Pier Park North began shortly after talks about Walmart opening a new store began. In fact, if you look at all the chatter over the last 12 months, it looks like we’re heading right into a commercial development boom.
With the 5 year anniversary of Pier Park (proper) coming up in February, many can attest to the success it’s had in not only offering immense shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities, but also effectively creating a greater sense of community in Panama City Beach. If you think back before Pier Park, where else did we have a place for 25,000+ people to gather to celebrate the New Year holiday?
List of tenants.
If you remember back in the day when legitimate talks about Pier Park began to surface, there were all sorts of retail brands thrown about as confirmed future tenants. Of course, some of those actually materialized, but many did not. I had the great pleasure of working with the leasing and development staff very early on to ensure I was reporting on accurate information. I was told repeatedly the retailers cited on the development plans were not representing actual signed leases but rather the types of retailers that would be fitting for particular areas.
I only underscore this as the list of following tenants should not be assumed to be confirmed.
The current “marketing” concept map includes the following tenants (in no particular order):
- Rooms To Go
- Shoe Carnival
- Pier 1 Imports
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Best Buy
- Logan’s Roadhouse
- Mattress Firm
- Men’s Wearhouse
When looking on the Casto’s page on their website for this property, the key tenants cited only include:
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Best Buy
- Rooms to Go
This leaves one to wonder one of two interpretations; 1) The “key tenants” are the ones from the list that are actually signed lessees or 2) the “key tenant” list is just a random sample of what is projected as ideal tenants.
I can tell you that I for one, would be ecstatic to see a Best Buy come in, along with RTG and many of the others. It would really diversify the offering we see on the beach for places that carry items that our clients and guests have need for their properties or while on vacation.
Concept, design and look and feel.
While there aren’t necessarily development conceptual elevations displayed per se, they definitely have an image that depicts a very similar look and feel the the existing Pier Park motif that we’ve all come to know and love. And of course, seeing this image reminds us that to move in a different direction of something that has been so successful just wouldn’t make sense. I for one am genuinely hoping for a consistent look and feel and can assure you it is essential to create the seamless, well-thought-out appearance that Panama City Beach has been so rigorously working hard to achieve.
The imagery depicts light, yet bright, beachy colors, look-out tower styled accents and tall cabana looking awnings. Some of the storefronts in the one picture displayed definitely show staged facades that offer dimension and could create recreation and lounging areas not unlike Pier Park has now. From what I’ve observed in the plans, it doesn’t look to have nearly as much offset, though, as the existing Pier Park.
And right in the middle, there is a Pier Park logo. Remember, St. Joe owns the Pier Park trademark.
If you remember, the article we published about Pier Park North in January cited a ground breaking possible in March of this year. As I’m sure you can surmise, that didn’t happen. Since the last article, I suspect some changes have been made in how the whole new development will come about. I’m hinted at this because in the new lease marketing collateral, I see no mention of Glimcher, the original mall developer partner that St. Joe was working with.
Of course, it’s also important to note that until any “official” announcements are made about this project, everything here is purely speculation.
In my most recent correspondence from Mel Leonard, the Director of Planning for Panama City Beach, he said:
We are waiting for them to submit landscaping and buffering plans. They recently submitted the traffic study and are still working through the transportation improvements that will be required as well as some utility issues. They have said they want to have an approved development order and begin land clearing in December. That is still possible but it could slip until January if all issues do not get resolved soon.
From land clearing to fully developed, the existing Pier Park took around a year to develop. So, assuming everything is lining up, I would think we should see Pier Park North come online for the 2014 rental season.