A new condo could come to Front Beach Road. Members of the Panama City Beach Planning Board say it could be a game changer.

The planning board gave the green light to build the condo. A law passed in 2012 reads if condo builders want to build higher than 150 feet, they have to come up with some incentives. Board members approved the incentives and say this is the most important thing to happen on the beach from a land development standpoint in the last 30 years.

High-rise condominiums have become a part of the beach's identity, but not everyone is a fan of them.

"We looked at the height and there's a lot of backlash at the height of the condos that we have and the number. You can get your 220 feet, but you're gonna have to throw us a bone to get there," said Edward Benjamin, Chairman of the Planning Board.

The city passed a law in 2012 that states condos can be built up to 150 feet, and if they want to go to 220 feet they need to come up with some incentives that serve the city and the community.

"You can get the 150 and put up a square box," said Benjamin. "That's fine, that's the law, but if you want the 220 you're gonna have to make nice. You're gonna have to make it look good."

This is the first time since the law passed that it's been done.

Benjamin said, "It's gonna set the standard for the whole Northwest Florida beaches corridor."

Continental Group Incorporated has come up with several incentives that include public bathrooms on the beach, improved sidewalks, a new beach pathway, green roofs, and initiates that preserve water and energy.

"It'll be the only one north of maybe Tampa or Orlando anywhere on the water," said Benjamin. "It's gonna be very unique."

The condo will be built on a lot west of the Grand Panama Resort. Developers say they'll be ready to open their doors in less than three years.

"Let's face it we got some pretty ugly buildings here," said condo owner, Neel Bennett. "We got some pretty ugly condos and we need to challenge architects to do better. As we're coming out of the recession and 

is coming our way we challenge developers to think outside the box, which I think is what's going on here."

This now has to go before the city council. If approved, developers say they'll be ready to open their doors in less than three years.


Mon 10:22 PM, Nov 09, 2015