PANAMA CITY BEACH – For tourists and residents alike, it’s going to get a lot easier to find that lost shaker of salt.
For the second time this year, plans have been unveiled for a major land development in Bay County inspired by the beachy lifestyle of pop singer Jimmy Buffet’s laid-back music. Five months after the St. Joe Company and home builder Minto Communities unveiled plans for “Latitude Margarita,” an initial 3,000-plus active adult residential project west of SR79 and north of the Intracoastal Waterway in West Bay, a different team on Wednesday announced that it will build the Margaritaville Beach Resort along the Gulf beachfront east of the Bid-a-Wee neighborhood.
The partnership of Margaritaville Holdings and Premier Development Group has announced it will construct the resort on a 13-acre tract in the city located just east of the intersection of Hutchinson Boulevard and Front Beach Road. When complete, the resort complex will include a full-service hotel, a two-acre park with multiple swimming pools, private cabanas, a lazy river ride and a children’s splash area. When fully developed, the development will span both sides of Front Beach Road.
“We can’t wait to welcome travelers from around the world, as well as future owners to a place where sand, sun, water and fun come together to capture the essence of the Margaritaville lifestyle,” said John Cohlan, chief executive officer of Margaritaville.
Jason Alley, chief financial officer of Premier Development Group, alluded to the region’s ongoing recovery effort after Hurricane Michael. “Panama City Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and we are excited to share this news and help bring positive energy back to the destination,” Alley said. “We are hopeful that this will help boost the area’s revitalization efforts.”
The developers are well underway in the planning approval process, said Charles Silky, senior planner for Panama City Beach. Cohlan said the partners hope to complete phase one construction and to open Margarita Beach Resort in the spring of 2021.
The proposed Margaritaville Beach Resort brings to five the number of Buffett-themed restaurants and hotels on the Florida panhandle. In addition to the proposed Latitude Margaritaville community in West Bay, there is a Margaritaville restaurant in Pier Park; a Cheeseburger in Paradise bar and grill in Sandestin, and a Hotel Margaritaville in Pensacola Beach. Nor are latitude Margaritaville or Margarita Beach Resort one-of-a-kind properties. Minto Communities has already opened Latitude Margaritaville communities in Daytona Beach and Hilton Head, S.C., and the Margaritaville Beach Resort in Hollywood Beach recently celebrated its third anniversary.