When it comes to getting right down to business, the Front Beach Road CRA (short for community redevelopment area) in Panama City Beach is cranking out the first steps in making South Thomas Drive awesome. The South Thomas Drive road, well known as a crater-ific, pitted nightmare of a road, is getting a huge shot in the arm by way of completely NEW road, widened travel path, sidewalks, beautiful landscaping and sweet street lamps. Oh, and I forgot to mention all those ugly utility lines will be moved under ground; that’s huge!
Thunder Beach Productions & Oaseas Resorts is the new official location for the infamous Kick-Start Party for 2009 at Shores of Panama Resort. The large, stunning pool deck will now play host to the popular event featuring live entertainment and the Official Miss Thunder Beach preliminaries.
From 6 to 10pm on Wednesday, September 23rd, the beautiful Shores of Panama Resort will kick of what is to be an fun-filled chromed-out weekend! “Shores” is bringing in legendary show band, ELI – the band that defines “High Energy”. Shores of Panama poolside is the perfect setting to get your engines revving for the first Preliminary of the Miss Thunder Beach Pageant. Beautiful ladies, fantastic live music and great food and drink…what a way to crank up your favorite Rally-by-the-Sea!!
When the Kick-Start party is over, just walk or ride next door to Pineapple Willy’s “After Party” – going on until 12:30.
The Front Beach Road CRA in Panama City Beach is set to change the face of the beach and reset the perception of all those that visit our beautiful area. Right now, driving up and down our main travel corridors is non-to-pleasing to the eye, what with the towering out of the ground utilities and lack of proper sidewalks and landscaping. BUT, that’s all in the process of change. Change is good, right?
Yesterday evening a community workshop was held at the CRA office to show off what’s in store for the next phase of the CRA (community redevelopment area), including South Thomas Drive, a section of Front Beach Road and the intersection of Front Beach Road, Middle Beach Road and North Thomas Drive.
Tip: You can learn more about the CRA, or you can read below for more details on this portion.
I’m going to warn you, what you are about to read will be long, but super rich with multimedia. Hopefully you’ll have a great idea as to what this portion of the cra will actually involve.
This roadways covered in this portion of the CRA form a loop, if you will around Laketown Wharf and a portion of the Signal Hill Golf course. The road runs right by Boardwalk Beach Resort, then passes by Pineapple Willies, through condo canyon (Laketown Wharf/Shores of Panama), goes right carrying you right past Wal-Mart and through the intersection just a little where Walgreen’s, Ripley’s and Backyard Burger rest. Included also is a little bit of the roadway called North Thomas Drive that would lead you down to the camp ground across from Club La Vela.
Here are the 57 Reasons the New South Thomas Drive will Rock
Front Beach, Middle Beach, North Thomas Drive Intersection
- This is the intersection described above that plays home to Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
- They will completely redo the whole intersection, traffic lights and all
- The new intersection will have an emphasis on pedestrian friendliness
- Currently it is difficult for peds to cross because of the wide road ways
- They will redo some of the existing pedestrian islands
- Also, an additional pedestrian island will be added by Backyard Burger
- Existing ped islands will be beautified
- The famous dedicated right turn lane from west-bound Front Beach Road that turns onto Middle Beach will be done away with, median curb and all
- But, that lane will still be a turn only lane, just not dedicated
- Actually, they will ad an additional right turn lane making the total number of right turn lanes from Front Beach to Middle Beach TWO
- Right smack dab in the middle of the intersection will be a huge decorative paver insignia of the Panama City Beach logo surely marketing the busiest intersection on Panama City Beach. Could Wal-mart have anything to do with that? hmmm
- The right turn from North Thomas Drive onto Front Beach Road (by the Ripley’s museum) will be pulled back to make it a larger radius. You may have noticed their new sign and how it has recently moved back. They were getting it out of the way!
- Pedestrian walkways will be very clearly marked
- My favorite: all those ugly utility lines (power, phone and the like) will be moved UNDERGROUND!
- Sidewalks will be installed
- Cool street lamps will be installed
- Lovely landscaping that will hopefully be taken good care of.
The Circle K Intersection of Front Beach Road
- This area covers the “curve” by Laketown Wharf and the entrance of Shores of Panama.
- This area is well known for its traffic during peak seasons
- Many in attendance were not happy with the plans as they did not seem to address the current problems
- I talked with the owner of Pineapple Willies who was telling me that teh traffic problems there greatly effect his business every year
- Many property owners there expressed their concern that during peak seasons it was very difficult for them to come and go from their residences
- Some of the suggestions included widening the turn so that there would be two dedicated turn lanes because all of the traffic is broken up to turn right or left at the Circle K
- The plans include a dedicated Tram lane for the multi-model transportation device
- Many suggested to do away with this all together, but this route of the Tram service is integral in the Tram “looping” back to return to the west end of Panama City Beach
- The goal of the Tram is to get people to park their cars and ride mass transportation systems, this could work great, if done correctly.
- I think cars would be able to travel in this Tram lane, so they could use the Tram lane to turn right, right?
- Of course, all utilities will be moved underground
- Sidewalks will be installed
- Landscaping will be installed
- There will be clearly marked crossing areas with pedestrian medians
- There will be periodic cut-outs for the Tram loading and unloading stops
South Thomas Drive, North Thomas Drive Intersection
- Located right by Alvin’s Island
- They actually (they, as in The City of Panama City Beach) bought a huge chunk of land between Alvin’s Island and Signal Hill Golf Course
- This land will be used to build a retention pond and a cut through roadway
- The retention pond will be designed to be a beautiful amenity
- Sidewalks all around with sitting areas
- Landscaped and lighted
- It looks as thought there may be a little roadside parking for those that may want to enjoy
- The roadway cut through will be charged with the goal of easing traffic into North Thomas Drive
- Intersection will be “signalized”
- Right now, the turn just sort of “juts” out, giving more bias to turning right then left, and is actually quite dangerous if you’re not paying attention.
- The new intersection will have pedestrian walkways clearly marked
- There will be a little right off-shoot to cover access still to boardwalk and thee other “local” businesses.
- This will alleviate some of the traffic pressure during peak seasons and times of high traffic *cough* little wayner
- Alvin’s Island will actually be a little “island”
Huge Retention Pond in Place of Old Homeless Camp
- This retention pond will actually be behind McDonalds in front of the Wal-Mart parking lot (bet you were always wondering what was behind all those shrubs at the end of the Wal-Mart parking lot, weren’t you?)
- Right now there is a fence along the McDonald’s parking lot
- I was told that this lot was the former site of a homeless camp, even though it is right in the middle of the action, it was actually well secluded. That is before the city came in and ruined the fun and cleared it all out.
- I was also told that McD’s is anxious for this as when it is build, they will tear down their fence and open it up for their customers to use
- This retention pond will be quite large and will feature landscaping and sidewalks all around
- A “viewing” platform will be built with seating areas so that people can enjoy the view of the retention pond
- Lighting, landscaping and sidewalks all around (did I say that already?)
- The public will have access to the amenity from both Middle Beach and Front Beach Roads
Below are some high-resolution renderings of the different aspects of the project.
In an effort to drop inventory levels, The Shores of Panama Condominiums in Panama City Beach are selling brand new condos at like-auction prices.
Just to save you some time scrolling (since that is inevitably what you will do first to find the price), I’ll just give you the price up front: $253 per square foot, on average. Now, let me tell you about why I think this is a great deal.
If you haven’t been to Shores of Panama, you really have to check it out to appreciate it. Short of going to Edgewater or Boardwalk, it really is one of the few ‘true’ resorts in Panama City Beach. Featuring resort amenities such as 2 full service spas with massages, facials, steam rooms, and saunas, two tiki bars serving lunch and dinner, conference areas, a 14,000 square foot pool, indoor heated pool, and tons more.
The sense of arrival is spectacular as you pull into the covered grand portacache. The scene includes elegant fountains and a quaint cafe with the entrance being accessed through oversized solid doors. The colors are warm and the mood relaxing.
As you walk into the large lobby, you have a view directly onto the lushly landscaped pool area and out into the emerald green Gulf of Mexico. The lobby is finished off with huge chandeliers and large-tile floors. The granite counter tops are large and majestic, and the furnishings look and feel expensive.
This expensive look and feel isn’t just skin deep, either. The entire709 condominium building was constructed using concrete tunnel form, firmly planting the entire structure on the beach. With an all concrete structure, residents can stay, and own with the peace of mind that their property is safe.
As you walk out into the pool area, you are greeted with palm trees and other native plants to this area. The 14,000 square foot pool weaves in and out of the various nooks and crannies that give this huge pool character. Flowing under two bridges, the pool gives the swimmer constant views of the Gulf of Mexico and is serviced by two tiki bars.
The 2 full service spas, separated for men and for women, provide massages, facials, steam rooms and saunas and are available to guests and residents. There is a spa located on each side of the U-shaped building. The fitness center features high-end Life Fitness brand cardio equipment, fitted with individual flat panel TV’s.
The large indoor heated pool and hot tub offers residents and guests an opportunity to enjoy a swim regardless of the weather.
With 3 elevator systems, you never have to walk too far to get up to your floor.
Centrally located in Panama City Beach, Pier Park, restaurants, Wal-Mart, and pretty much everything else you’d want while you were on vacation are just a few short minutes away.
Ok, so we’ve established that the Shores of Panama is a true resort, but lets talk numbers.
Recently, beachfront condos have sold for around $200/sq ft at auction.
The price here is $253 per square foot, but you get so much more. I walked around some of the other condos that have sold at auction, and they simply just don’t compare to the package you get at the Shores of Panama. Others that have recently sold, really are just a building with a pool.
As far as rentals, the pros at Oaseas Resorts have you covered. Last season, 65% of the guests who visited the property re-booked for next year. With an Oaseas Resorts office on site, getting in touch with them should be no problem.
For more information:
In an effort to continue operations after over 100 purchasers initiated the process to get out of their contracts, the Shores of Panama has filed for protection under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
The Shores of Panama consists of 709 condos in a 22 story building on Front Beach Road. When they were marketing and selling this project, huge emphasis was placed on the expansive resort-style amenity area. Situated right across from Laketown Wharf, the Shores of Panama is a beach-front U-shaped building.