The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin is going through a rejuvenation this season and is excited about some changes it is seeing.
"It's all good," said Kitty Whitney, executive director and broker at Sandestin Real Estate. "Some things have moved out and some are coming in and we are giving The Village a fresh new look,"
One of those moving on up to occupy a bigger space at The Village is Chef Jim Shirley's Baytowne Melt, which will be taking over the space formerly occupied by Graffiti's Funky Blues Shack.
The Baytowne Melt's expansion will bring with it more than food options, though, as it will become Baytowne Provisions, which is expected to open by May 1.
The melt sandwiches will remain on the expanded menu, and can be enjoyed at the full bar that will be located upstairs to take advantage of the marina view.
By summer's end, plans are to add a general store/market that will offer local goods, every-day necessities and groceries. Currently under renovation, the space is expected to be ready to open in early summer.
"It's going to be a little grocery and café," said Shirley. "It's a beautiful waterfront spot that has never been taken advantage of."
"We were excited when Jim called and said he wanted to do this," added Whitney. "We envision it mimicking Modica Market on the first floor. And upstairs has a bay-view café."
Whitney is a long-time proprietor of a business at Baytowne. She and her husband own the arcade and ice cream store, and she also lives at Sandestin.
"The Village was always a refuge for us even before I began working here," she said. "And it still has our heart."
During the busy season, Baytowne sees a lot of foot traffic thanks to the shopping, music, movies, beer and wine fests, and other events that draw people to The Village.
"Right now, we are refurbishing and going through a reinventing of The Village," said Whitney. "We are here for the long haul and excited for what's coming."
Other add ons include John Wehner's Village Door dance club has added an outdoor restaurant area with bar and shade and Rum Runners has added an outdoor patio over the lagoon.
The front portion of Baytowne was built in 2002. The Village rests on 28 acres.