After sitting vacant for four years, the Saturn automobile dealership building in Panama City finally has a tenant. Lifeguard Ambulance Service, which began providing non-emergency transport in April, is preparing to base its Bay County operation in the building.
According to the property appraiser's web site, the 12,381 square foot building sits on 7.085 acres and has a taxable value of $986,483. It was built in 2008 but never fulfilled its original purpose; Saturn stopped manufacturing cars.
Jason Kimbrell, Regional Executive for Lifeguard, said the building fits the company's plans perfectly. "It's certainly an ideal place for an EMS service," he said. "It allows for expansion within the building and it's an excellent location... it's going to allow us to work closely with adjacent and contiguous counties from here to Leon County over to Okaloosa County."
Lifeguard, which operates from ten locations in the southeastern U.S., provides non-emergency and inter-facility transports in Bay County. Kimbrell said the company has developed working relationships with Bay Medical Center, Gulf Coast Medical Center, and nursing and rehabilitation facilities throughout the area.
In Florida, Lifeguard has the contract for 911 emergency and non-emergency ambulance services for Santa Rosa County and the 911 EMS contract for Columbia County. The company also has operations in Alabama, Tennessee and Texas.
The Bay County operation currently utilizes three ambulances and Kimbrell said Lifeguard responds to up to 300 calls per month.
"Finding the location [and] putting the right people in the right places to get the right results is not an easy thing to do," said Kimbrell. "This Saturn dealership certainly was that right fit here in Bay County."