Marie Hotel Developers Try to Garner Support From Downtown - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Marie Hotel Developers Try to Garner Support From Business Owners

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Royal American Management company has plans for the Old Marie Hotel were recently tabled by the city of Panama City.

The proposal was presented to the board as low income housing for seniors, but after receiving heavy criticism they backed off. Tuesday they met with Main Street Panama City, a group of business owners from the downtown, but some say they see this effort as an afterthought by Royal American. One that might be too little too late.

"I don't know I feel like it was a step back for them because it should have been done prior to it being announced publicly," said Jane Lindsey. "I think we were all a little bit in shock when we heard what we heard."

The Marie Hotel has been sitting vacant for more than 40 years in the downtown.

Representatives from Royal American say, if they can get approval from the city, construction could get underway in about a year for low income senior housing. But, shop owners with main street downtown aren't convinced the idea is a good fit for the atmosphere they are trying to help build.

"It doesn't change my mind at this time," said Lindsey. "I love the look of what they're doing, but I don't want the inside to be low-income housing. I don't know that that promotes our downtown or Panama City in general there is plenty of property in other locations."

"I can only speak for myself," said Jim Hayden, owner of the Bagel Maker. "I think the jury is still out in my opinion. I need to do some more research. I have a lot more questions.

A representative from Royal American says a conceptual design for the project must be approved before plans can be carried out and financing made available by the Florida Housing Financing Corporation.

  • Do you think Royal American should be allowed to convert the historic Marie Hotel into affordable housing?

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