Pier Park North Land Clearing has Begun!

Driving down Back Beach Road (Panama City Beach Parkway or US 98) last week you could smell the fresh scent of pine in the air as logging crews harvested the pine forrest located where the new Pier Park North mall will be located. In fact, by Wednesday, most of the trees were gone and crews are expected to begin de-stumping the ground this week.

Here is a panoramic shot of the site as of Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

Having just reported on the [so far] up to date list of stores coming to the development, we’ve had quite a few chime in on their suggestions on the stores that should be included in this development. There was some initial speculation in the recent past on whether this development was even a reality.  Of course, with the buzz of Pier Park North, began the buzz of a new Walmart in Panama City Beach that is getting nearer to completion every day.  Some commenters have confirmed that it is indeed going to be a Super Walmart.

What do you think of the new Walmart development and the development of Pier Park North?

CONFIRMED List of Stores for Pier Park North [REPORT]

The list of stores slated for Pier Park North is small but seems to be growing very quickly cites an anonymous source.  There has been a lot of speculation as to what stores are coming and it has been confirmed  as to which ones are definite and which ones are in the works.

Here are some of our past articles about Pier Park North.

Confirmed list of stores.

Here is a full size plat map.

Working on LOI:

  • America’S Best
  • Aspen Dental
  • Best Buy
  • Cato
  • Family Christian
  • Hibachi Cafe
  • Logan’S Roadhouse
  • Mattress Firm
  • Newt’S Cafe
  • Orange Leaf
  • Sally Beauty
  • Wine World

Working On Lease:

  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Great Clips
  • Kirkland’S
  • Maharaja’S Jewelers
  • Men’S Warehouse
  • Petco
  • Pier 1
  • Ross
  • Shoe Carnival

Leases Signed:

  • Dicks
  • Lee Nails & Spa
  • Michaels
  • Rooms To Go


  • Chili’s
  • Leslie’s Pool

More Pier Park North Information Surfaces

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.

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
  • Havertys
  • Petco
  • Shoe Carnival
  • Ross
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Kirkland’s
  • Michaels
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Best Buy
  • Dick’s
  • 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:

  • Dick’s
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Ross
  • Best Buy
  • Michaels
  • 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.

You can view the brochure here. 

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.

Development timeline.

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.

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?