Why You Should Already Be Thinking Summer 2012

by August 11, 2009 • 6 comments

Try to imagine what Panama City Beach will be like come summer 2012. What do you see? If you see the same PCB you see now, I encourage you to sleep on it for a night and try again. In fact, if you were to set the clock back to 1999, before the condos, before the closing of Miracle strip and the opening of Pier Park, back then you couldn’t possibly have imagined Panama City Beach would be as it is today unless you were a descendant of Nostradamus. No one can see the future, but we have around us even now intelligible signs of what we can expect. What those signs are showing is that by the summer of 2012 Panama City Beach will have seen an equally drastic change as such since ’99.

What Changes To Expect:

Physically, Panama City Beach will not look as it does today. Upcoming CRA developments will make Front Beach Road and entirely new place. In fact, it is likely that what we know as “The Strip” will be long gone. Coupled with Form-Based Design Regulations, don’t expect it to resemble its current guise. Thomas Drive will be a beneficiary of these new codes as well. North Thomas will continue to see large developments taking advantage of Navy Base business and, with the addition of Jasmine Thai Restaurant and Grand Lagoon Bridge work,  may very well become Panama City Beach’s restaurant row. It is likely that Pier Park will expand. No word yet on what will happen on Pier Park West, but rest assured it will be used, opening up new opportunities for businesses and potential Panama City Beach Parkway developments. But, obviously, the biggest change will be the airport. Panama City Beach will see its biggest change after all the hoopla surrounding the new airport sets in and low cost flights bring a new clientele. Many, if not all, of the older hotels and those that are currently considered “eyesores” will be flattened making way for potential new buyers to build on Panama City Beach. So what you will have is a totally new Panama City Beach.

What Changes “Could” Happen:

Let me preface what could happen with a reminder that “could” does not necessarily mean “will”: it is entirely hypothetical.

One of the biggest “could” happens on Panama City Beach is a clashing of Panama City Beach and Destin. With the new airport in between them, inevitable developments occurring in the “neither” space, Panama City Beach will begin to swallow Destin as a part of the city. This melding could be accelerated by the coming economic upswing. Property sales will still be cheap as the economy turns, just in time for New York and Chicago buyers to buy up land that would make Panama City Beach and Destin much “closer” than they’ve ever been. The competition will be fierce and in order to distinguish Panama City Beach as the “fun” side, Pier Park will take on a new role. In an amazing turn of events, Pier Park West will be transformed into a boardwalk amusement park unlike anything this area has seen. Epic rides, coasters and a towering Ferris wheel overlooking the coast. Panama City Beach as a vacation destination will explode with new travelers avoiding the 6 hours to Orlando. But, mind you, this is all hypothetical good fun.

Why You Should Be Thinking About it Now?:

You should be thinking about that date because of what will happen. Panama City Beach IS going to expand and a new clientele WILL be on our shore looking to give you their business. This, naturally, will create an even stronger sense of competition than that which exists now. And by then, if you are behind the times technologically, you will be left behind. In fact, even now when many vacationers come to Panama City Beach they use cell phone applications as a travel guide. If you don’t know about Yelp and Urbanspoon, you’re already two years behind. And with the new AT&T 3G tower scheduled to be completed on Panama City Beach this year, use of applications as a way of guiding travelers will only increase. By 2012, developments in social media and advances in cell phone and communication technology will provide you an opportunity to level the marketing playing field with the big guys. But you can’t wait. Now is when you need to be thinking about social marketing, local co-operatives for package partnerships such as a Room+Attraction+Airfare parkages, and spending time and research to understand the type of clientele that will be walking Panama City Beach’s shores by the summer of 2012. In, fact we may be inevitably moving in the direction of some sort of city pass card for businesses, hotels and attractions where everyone benefits. Either way, as Panama City Beach grows, and that will happen exponentially by 2012, you will have to grow as well or be taken over by the wave of new business and travelers you never saw coming.

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1 Sandy August 11, 2009 at 10:21 am

I do believe you’re right, Cebo. Let’s hope that, as Panama City Beach blends into Sandestin, our planning and development board will be ensightful enough to encourage as similar and attractive architectural concept as can be seen in our neighboring city.


2 jamnolfin August 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Is there legs to this talk of a amusement park in Pier Park West? Have a dave and Busters and maybe a ESPN Zone or Nascar cafe anchoring a boardwalk with amusement rides would be genius., Like the Boardwalk at Disney


3 James August 11, 2009 at 2:22 pm

What were you guys smoking when you wrote this?!


4 Jason Koertge August 11, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Great comment James. thanks for the contribution!


5 Ron August 11, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Cebo, great article. You repeatedly step out of the box. Some times you step out on the side next to traffic, but you do continue to raise some interesting points. I think “Coney Island South” would be pretty cool. Creative people get “high” on the possibilities.


6 Nelson August 11, 2009 at 10:13 pm

You rock Cebo!