In a filing yesterday with the United States SEC, St. Joe announced that they’ve executed an agreement between the Airport District and their new commercial development on the new airport property, the VentureCrossings Enterprise Centre. This agreement grants through-the-fence access to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport’s taxiways and runways for companies within the VentureCrossings Enterprise Centre.
Often I receive all sorts of cynical comments about the construction of the new airport in Panama City Beach. This is, in fact, one of my favorite topics to debate, I love hearing what everyone has to say and I love forming rebuttals. So this is the first of a series of posts that I want to walk down the line of some of the comments I get and open it all up for conversation in the comments below.
I’ll list out the cynical comments, then I’ll explain why they are so off base, you’ll see why the new airport has NOTHING to do with bringing “Aunt Pearl” home.
It was made quite clear by Bob Montgomery, Vice President of Properties for Southwest Airlines, that if it weren’t for St. Joe, Southwest Airlines wouldn’t be coming to Panama City. The discussions between St. Joe and Southwest Airlines began over a decade ago. One of the things that was explained to me a short while ago was that Southwest Airlines can go where ever they want to go; they just pick an airport, and the airport accommodates. I was told that Southwest coming to Panama City made absolutely no sense from a business perspective and the prospect encompassed more risk than a company like Southwest would be willing to take. But, what if the risk was mitigated by a third party? That was their ticket into our market.
Read on for all the facts.
Get your big hat out and prepare for a storm of huge economic development ideas to come ripping through Northwest Florida October 29 with the Annual Fall Leadership Summit being held at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. There are tons of presentations on the board with big-name speakers such as Jerry Ray from St. Joe, Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos, Alabama Speaker of the House Seth Hammett, Mel Ponder of Coastal Vision 3000 and many others.
When St. Joe purchased the Sharkstooth club house, tennis and beach club the community was all a buzz about the change in memberships. At that time the only way to get a full golf membership was to either buy a home that had an existing membership through transfer and purchase or to buy an approved St. Joe property. That was not received very well by the community since many home owners assumed this was a privilege that would always be afforded to them.
Fast forward and now St. Joe is now offering several golf, tennis and beach club memberships to Wild Heron owners as well as those that would purchase property in the community. As a past club member and owner in Wild Heron I believe this is a great idea for the health of the community. As a Realtor I have had several people that have wanted to buy a particular piece of property and without a membership possibility that was less attractive. I will tell you that the golf course is great, the community is one of a kind and the neighbors are second to none.
Please click here for more information about the membership offerings and remember to call your favorite Realtor to check out Wild Heron and if you do not have a favorite Realtor I would love to help you. Karen Smith with Beachy Beach Real Estate at 850-527-5651.
Apparently Okaloosa’s Northwest Florida Regional Airport is not closing, and Okaloosa Airport officials are getting quite snappy about it. I’ve heard this very rumor for quite some time and have actually participated in some of the speculation.
Some believe that it all started January of 2008 with the Panama City Beach’s Chamber let out an email blast to members that stated that Eglin Air Force Base would shut down commercial airport operations in order to preserve Eglin’s incoming Joint Strike Fighter mission. I personally remember the email and thought it quite a bold move, but was unable to substantiate the statement.
Other locals to Panama City and Panama City Beach have been known to question whether the Okaloosa airport would stay open for much longer, including well-known attorney, William Harrison and former Panama City Beach Mayor and local news show host Lee Sullivan. Recently, Sullivan had Panama City Bay County International Airport Director Randy Curtis on his show and made the comment that in the future Okaloosa would have airspace issues with Eglin that may lead to complications in commercial operations. Harrison’s opinion is that it is of the best interest of the Florida Panhandle that Eglin’s military and the Joint Strike Fighter mission is of the highest priority.
Currently the Okaloosa County Commission is investigating the possibility of legal action against the Panama City Bay County International Airport and have also supported seeking the resignation of Jerry Ray from Coastal Vision 3000. Ray is one of the VP’s of St. Joe and a prominent supporter of the New Panama City Airport.
Okaloosa’s Northwest Florida Regional Airport Director Greg Donovan said that they will be launching an advertising campaign to counter the rumors. Recently the Air Force renewed their lease with Northwest Florida Regional through 2032.
Located at the intersection of Beckrich and Back Beach Roads, the new Publix will replace the old one currently located at Middle Beach Road and Beckrich where Sonic and PostNet are located. My sources tell me that they will lease out that commercial space as soon as it is vacated.
The design and architecture will be just like that seen at the other new Publix on Thomas Drive at Magnolia Beach Road, going into Bay Point. Featuring all new equipment, the employees are excited about the move.
In addition to a new Publix, this particular parcel will sprout an Office Depot as well as a Dunkin Donuts, finally.
Stay tuned for more updates.