New Walmart Starts Construction

by May 2, 2012 • 16 comments

Jason Koertge has an awesome vacation rental business in Panama City Beach that focuses on remarkable properties right on the gulf.  They range from 1 to 4 bedrooms, they’re clean, and amazing.  He can be found lurking at

The new Walmart being installed next to Pier Park has begun construction as of yesterday.  Located right next door to Target, across from Powell Adams Road, an official “designation” is still unclear, but it’s certain to have grocery.  We recently discussed the site plans that were clear that it would not only include grocery, but a full bakery section, deli (with display coolers), fresh produce, garden center, and other general areas you’d expect to find in a Walmart.

We do know that this Walmart will be 156,000 square feet, which is 70% of the size of the Super Walmart to the east of this one.

What they’ll be doing first.

In preparation for the general construction, they’ve got to level out the land and get everything ready for the giant slab that we’ll walk on as we shop for the next umpteen years.  If you remember, there is a huge sand hill that’s been there for years, capturing the tires of renegade wannabe off-roaders that have bravely attempted to traverse it’s heights.  Yes, even my own brother got stuck in that hill, before he had four wheel drive.

They’ll be putting up perimeter fencing to help protect our eyes from the menacing construction equipment and keep the kids out and installing a central construction trailer to manage day to day operations.

Construction timeline and property details.

At this point, the construction timeline is still projected to be right at 12 months.  I would think they would want to get this done by next spring season, or at the latest, next summer season.  We’ll keep an eye on things as it progresses.

There will be out parcels along Panama City Beach Parkway (Back Beach Road), three entry points on Powell Adams Road and one entry point on Back Beach Road.

Powell Adams Road improvements.

One of the more controversial elements to this development, interestingly enough, has been the improvements to Powell Adams Road.  Many of the Walmart Opposition Party have contended that if something goes in that requires improvements to the road, they should have to pay for it, not the taxpayer.

Powell Adams Road is on the schedule for the CRA improvement treatment plan in the next couple years, and the Walmart development has put these improvements on the fast track.  The cool thing about this is that the City was going to fund this entirely, originally, and it wasn’t going to happen for at least 2 more years.  But, since Walmart is coming, and the improvements are needed in order to meet the requirements that will come with the increased traffic, Walmart is partially funding this improvement project.

The improvements will be on Powell Adams Road and go back to LC Hilton Drive (the road you can take to Miracle Strip and the center round about.

Why Walmart paying just a portion is more than fair.

The way this was explained to me was that Walmart is paying for the improvements that they would need and the City is paying for the improvements that are above and beyond that which would bring them up to the CRA standards (think curbs, sidewalks, decorative street lighting, and landscaping).

You see, if Walmart put in the baseline improvements that were needed in order to accomodate the traffic increase that would come with it’s development, we’d get signalization and a wider road out of the deal, at no cost.  But the beautification that comes with the CRA treatment would not happen, and the potential cost down the road when the City got to this portion of the improvement schedule would be proportionally higher.

BUT, by just “charging” Walmart the cost is would be for the improvements they need to make, and the City paying for the other improvement elements that come with the normal CRA improvements, we save money (because we’re not paying for the baseline improvements) and we get the beautification much earlier than expected (literally by years).

So, in my eyes, it’s a win-win.  What do you think? Comment below. 😉


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1 Tami May 3, 2012 at 10:08 am

Seriously…another Walmart?!?! All the stores and businesses in this great country and we need ANOTHER Walmart in this little town…Because 4 we have isn’t enough? Think of all the stores that are out there in this vast expanse of land that my little ole self has never seen locked away in our beautiful little space of city perched between an ocean and a treeline, and Walmart (AGAIN!) is the store we sell land to…**Sigh** =.=


2 jamnolfin May 7, 2012 at 12:58 am

We dont have 4 we have 1 Walmart. This is great for the west end and will do quite well. I would rather go to the Santa Rosa Walmart than the one on front beach road.


3 Biggen May 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm

What, no update on the bloated CRA contruction project? Come on guys why aren’t the hard questions being asked of the City of PCB and R.B Baker? Wasn’t it supposed to be completed by the End of end of October 2011? No, wait. January of 2012? No, thats not right either. I know, I know. The end of March 2012 as written in your article back in January? Um… Nope… Whats the new “date of completion”? Memorial day? Lol, give me a break!!


There is the very real possibility that this new Wal-Mart will be operational BEFORE the CRA contruction is complete. Hopefully its contruction won’t cripple traffic movement, cause erosion run off problems, and hurt business as the CRA construction has done.


4 Schmidty May 6, 2012 at 8:14 am

I have a more optimistic view on this. Think of the jobs this will create. Think about what its like to shop at the current beach Walmart during spring break, this new location will help to relive some of that large and rambunctious spring break crowd all at that one location. Maybe they can stock most the beer at the old Walmart and use the new Walmart for more of the other family tourist items.


5 Cathy May 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

I agree with you 100%……. new location, not as many shoppers as the other location, the many jobs it will create! Sometimes people fail to look at the “Bright Side” of things.
About the beer….. I could give less thought about that, it’s too bad PCB doesn’t have a special location for Beer/wine purchases.
I can’t wait to visit the new location & Target too.
Thank you for reminding them!


6 Karen May 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

I agree Biggen. We’ve been visiting PCB for the last 7 years from Indianaswimming and it amazes us how many construction workers there are and how little work they get done. It seems to us no matter the project they stretch it out to last for a long time.


7 Kennon Elliott Wallis May 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I don’t understand why the mayor and city council allowed Wal Mart to build next door to Target at Pier Park. Not to mention the most beautiful brambles were just uprooted on all of the PCB Parkway. There are many locations on the west side of the beach that our leaders could have blessed as possible sites for the new Wal Mart. As a resident near Laguna Beach, I’m glad I won’t have to drive to the entire other side of the beach to shop at Wal Mart. But, I’m thankful that we have a Target. In my hometown in Alabama a new Wal Mart was constructed right next to K Mart. In a couple of years the K Mart was another empty building. I believe tourists can supply enough business for both Target and the new Wal Mart here. But, I don’t know if that will be the case right next to one another. It’s bad business, and bad city sense looking at future tax revenue. Simply put -it was lack of planning leadership! The new Wal Mart would have done well just west of 79 on the parkway, or just north of the Parkway on Highway 79. This may also hurt certain smaller shops at Pier Park, but the clear winner is the Wal Mart Corporation. I’m not anti Wal Mart, I’d just like to see civic leaders and a TDC that point the way to companies with wise planning, rather than companies dragging us around.


8 Jason Koertge May 21, 2012 at 10:41 am

Hey Kennon!

I understand you concern, but you can find successful scenarios of a Target and Walmart peacefully coexisting all over the county right next to one another. The situation isn’t unlike Lowes and Home Depot – who ALWAYS build next to each other.

In addition, it isn’t the City’s job to tell businesses where they can and cannot locate unless it is in violation of codes or ordinances. A business opening is a private matter, and where it happens, as long as it obeys the codes and ordinances, is between the business and the owner of the land.

One side you’re not looking at is all the jobs this new Walmart will create. And how much less stress the other Walmart will be under during peak season times, to keep up with demand. This will offer some balance.


9 Tom Bubb May 24, 2012 at 9:24 am

Wal-Mart should be required to clean up and plant trees at their abandon site by the bridge as a condition to build future stores in Bay County. The bridge site is an eyesore and in 30 years the new location will be abandon and look the same or worse next to the beautiful Pier Park.


10 GREG July 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm

will there be an optical center? were do i apply?


11 Thomas August 18, 2012 at 11:55 pm

I happen to think this is great. See… I actually live on the west end. A wal-mart close by means a burst of businesses popping up. With the recent lay offs at bookit and our lack of an electronics store, the thought of our little stretch of backbeach growing up is quite nice. I lived right by 23rd for most of my life. The down side is all in your nothing better to do but complain about everything head.


12 Lauren Gibson September 12, 2012 at 6:57 am

I am disappointed Walmart is coming in by Pier Park. I think it will cheapen Pier Park. We need to expand Pier Park and get some more high end stores in there. For example, let’s expand Pier Park and put in a Macy’s, Apple store, Coach, J Crew, Ann Taylor, and Banana Republic. I would like to see Panama City attract a higher end tourist and clientele with some higher end stores like Destin has rather than put in a Walmart, which is often an eye sore, by beautiful Pier Park.


13 JOE JEZEWSKI October 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Yes, it would be nice to put in a Macy’s, a Banana Republic, etc. BUT one small caviat to your wishing for these stores..The decision to “put one in” is NOT up to PCB city council, but rather Macy’s & Banana Republic, et al……..OOPS!


14 Kennon Elliott Wallis December 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Jason, I fully understand that public officials and city planners don’t decide whether private companies purchase land or locate. This is why I wrote “blessed” rather than dictate. I’m not sure whether civic leaders sought to encourage Wal Mart to choose a different location or not. I do know that in other communities leaders and residents have worked hard to do all they can to encourage Wal Mart to locate where they’d like. This usually occurs in more affluent areas than Panama City Beach. Sometimes even in wealthy communities residents aren’t able to keep Wal Mart from doing what it (the corporation) wants. I’d just like to know that we have a city council, mayor, and city planner(s) working day and night for the best future possible for our community.

As stated, I’m not against Wal Mart; I’d just like to have seen it a bit west of Pier Park. The jobs are important as well. If the economy hadn’t burst many dreams might have been realized. Lauren, I too was hoping to see higher end stores similar to Destin Commons at Pier Park. It may well be that we would have seen Banana Republic and other retailers at Pier Park if the Great Recession hadn’t occurred. Sadly, now we have Wal Mart to get excited about, and Destin remains the destination of the upper end along with 30A. If my hope wasn’t in God, I’d be lost, because I’m not sure we will ever see the explosive growth in Bay County many were projecting when I moved here from California in 2005.

I’ve accepted Wal Mart at Pier Park. What else can you do? I drill say that I don’t want Panama City Beach to become just like 23rd Street or 15th Street in PC. Please don’t chop down the wetlands to build more discount shops, traffic lights, and longer driving times to my drs in PC. I’d rather have natural beauty with a few quality stores, than tons of low end noise. We can choose ordinances that preserve our natural beauty if we act before the parkway is endless parking lots and traffic lights.


15 l van karsen December 18, 2012 at 5:18 am

I am a yearly tourist to PCB and I for one come South for the Beauty of the Beach, the little local gift shops. Not a MALL…. I have that at home. The beauty of the landscape is what it is about please do not destroy this area for Malls!!


16 Mark January 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

L Van, you are forgetting that people actually live here year round. We appreciate our visitors, but when I head down to wall-mart to pick up a small item or two and see the crowds clustered in the one off middle beach road, this makes me happy.

I am also glad that the “mall” as you it is there, because it has eliminated my need to go to Panama City, everything I need is on the beach now with the exception of medical services. During leak season, it can take up to 1 hour to get from 23rd street to the west end of the beach.

Please keep coming, but realize that we are growing and the locals deserve the convenience and the jobs his “mall” brings.