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 PCBLP.com.
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.