Giant Hole – Fiesta Motel – GONE!

by January 11, 2010 • 13 comments
Post image for Giant Hole – Fiesta Motel – GONE!

What was a long time landmark in Panama City Beach and quite possibly considered a home away from home for many has now fallen peril to the almighty and deathly bulldozer.  What was once the destination for families and spring breakers alike is now the resting place of mountains of rubble, re-bar and kitchen sinks.

Those of you that remember, The Fiesta Motel was a victim of the all encompassing “real estate boom” that launched Panama City Beach real estate prices through the sky.  Demand went up so fast that prices were driven through the clouds and many MANY made real estate purchases in Panama City Beach that while at the time seemed irrefutable, in hindsight were short-sighted and quite detrimental to the future viability of their own portfolio.

Slated for a sprawling new resort development that was actually at one time a sponsor of PCBDaily, marketing was attempted, sales was attempted, but they just couldn’t get any traction on demand.  That planned new creator of memories was suffering from the same ailment we were all suffering from – the looming scare-cession that would have us all in a choke hold for years.  In fact, it wasn’t until recently (within the last 12 months) that real estate has started moving again with any measurable velocity, albeit at prices in some cases a fraction of what they were just four short years ago.

When the Fiesta Motel was purchased, it was operational and accepting guests.  Although it wasn’t the nicest motel on the beach, many people still loved staying there.  The new purchaser, however, had big plans that included elements on the beach AND across the street.  The hotel wasn’t supposed to be there long before a number of condos were pre-sold and development was underway.  I remember the optimism of the development team.  I remember the excitement of a well planned vacation destination and the amenity rich dreams that were skillfully rendered on flashy expensive marketing collateral.  I remember the hopes of having a new development on Panama City Beach that wasn’t just another concrete cereal box on the beach.

Well, months, even years went by.  The old home of vacation and family memories turned to being scared by vandals and vagrants who obviously in their lack of maturity had nothing better to do on a Friday night than to go apply coats of spray paint on walls with illegible scribbles; I can only assume dreaming, themselves, of a time when they were still in diapers.  The Fiesta Motel became an eyesore.  People avoided the area so they wouldn’t have to look at it any more.

The City of Panama City Beach, in an effort to eliminate many of the dilapidated and condemn-worthy structures that peppered our beach, instituted an ordinance that allowed them to tear down the garbage and put a lien on the property for the cost.  Others that have been demolished already through this ordinance are Salty’s, the Seascape Motel and Surfside Villas.  The Fiesta Motel is gone.  Left in its wake are huge piles of rubble with whiskers of re-bar sticking out of the top.  The 3.2 acre property will soon be a 570 foot stretch of beautiful beach-front property.  I have to say, it will be nice coming off Middle Beach Road onto Front Beach being able to see what makes our area so special.

Here are some phones we took a few months back:

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1 Glenda January 12, 2010 at 10:45 am

The view is spectacular without the hotel. Even my 4 year old commented on how pretty the sky looked there.


2 beachlover January 12, 2010 at 10:49 am

What is going up? Condos or a hotel?


3 Patricia January 12, 2010 at 11:07 am

Do you know if investers starting to come back to the area? Are they looking to buy up more property? If so do you know who they are?


4 pcb999 January 16, 2010 at 3:28 am

No there are no investors buying property for condo developments and there will not be for a very long time.


5 Monica January 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm

You can’t stop CHANGE and CHANGE is what we are painfully going through at the moment around PCB. It is sad, but it is progress that we need to expect periodically, especially in our young country. Love it and accept it or leave it behind as you move onto greener pastures – which eventually will be turned into cities!!! Happy New Year all!


6 Franne January 12, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Wish condos could be built at the first level for a view of the gulf from a car driving by.


7 Tina Starling January 19, 2010 at 1:24 pm

This property was within days of going to contract under a short sale /Cash buyer .
Title Work and surveys were all complete.We had been working on the sale for two months. I am really sorry that the city decided that a lien on the property was worth more than recieveing the past due fees and taxes and having a refurbished
hotel up and operating along with a community being built for senior citizens on the land across the street.
So my answer to are there any developers looking to build,,YES


8 Charlie January 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm

My late wife and I stayed at the Fiesta on our honeymoon in 1973.

I will always have fond memories of the place.


9 Amy February 8, 2010 at 8:31 pm

My family have very fond memories of staying here every summer back in the 80’s. It’s too bad that a very pretty area had to go the shambles. I understand progress but what about upkeep?


10 Sharon Ernst March 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I wish and pray the city could purchase that land, and turn it into another park, keeping the beach front visable for visitors forever. I have been so worried PCB would end up being like Clearwater, where the hi-rises have totally obscured the views from the taxpayers who should ultimately have access to the beaches, rather than developers and mega rich homeowners & realtors. Come on PCB, preserve that beautiful piece of Gulf Front property! If a developer still wants to develop something, make them build on the north side of Front Beach Road, saving the view for the public. That is how it should be EVERYWHERE!


11 James D. March 16, 2010 at 9:46 pm

With the exception of Thomas Drive and the eastern end of Font Beach Rd. (where there are acres of land between the roadway and dunelines) most of the new developments should have been built on the other side of Front Beach Road. A little greasing of palms among Bay County officials by developers allowed these view-blockers to rise “in the footprint” of the prior structure — instead of behind coastal setback lines established for all new development after Hurricane Opal.

Additionally, had a cohesive, long-term building plan been in place to preserve the beach and its views, Front Beach Rd. could have easily been renamed as “Beachfront Road” — a long, scenic vista! High-rises built on the north side of the road would have still enjoyed an unencumbered view of the beach and Gulf, as well as better hurricane protection.


12 Marsha Bates March 30, 2010 at 6:44 am

Can anyone tell me when the Fiesta was closed/Last month/year it was in business?


13 Beth June 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Is there a motel like the Fiesta around? I SO loved that place!