Panama City Beach Seeing Building Boom - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Beach Seeing Building Boom

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New building developments in Panama City beach are set to double in 2013 over the year prior.

This is according to beach officials who say they're seeing a significant increase for the first time since the 2008 recession and oil spill two years later.

They say the key is consumer optimism.

"There's not a piece of property anywhere on the beach that hasn't been looked at by somebody so far and trying to figure out something to do with it.," said Planning Director, Mel Leonard.

Years of economic and environmental strife hit Panama City Beach hard; harder for businesses looking to thrive.

Fast forward to 2013 and, so far, things are looking up.

"All the rough things that we went through in the last 3 or 4 years, we've had some good PR here in the last couple of years. Our name is on the map," said City Manager, Mario Gisbert.

For Gisbert, the proof is in the permits.

Building developments for commercial, single family and multi family residences have nearly surpassed 2012 numbers, with 104 new developments in the first 6 months of this year. 

"Once that starts happening, it makes everybody optimistic. When they see the developments happen, even in the subdivisions, even those who can't get their finances together to get in the game start wondering how they can get in," said Leonard.

"We've had the ability to show that if they build it...they have come," said Gisbert.

 They continue to come. Commercially, Pier Park North is well underway; set to open in Spring of 2014

"Everybody sees the evidence of Pier Park North being constructed right now...the Wal Mart just opened up. So, we see a lot of activity around the Pier Park area and that's to be expected," said Leonard.

Yet, it's residential that has seen the biggest boom; 67 new residences, primarily in the Breakfast Point community offering affordable family living.

The building continues; since October 2012 through May of this year, construction evaluations show 11.6 million dollars have been spent on new residential dwellings and 13 million on new commercial