At the regularly scheduled commission meeting on February 27, 2018, the Panama City Commission voted to terminate its Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) for redevelopment of the Panama City Marina with Mr. Bob Sonnenblick. To view the letter that City Attorney Nevin Zimmerman sent to the Mayor and Commissioners on February 26, 2018 and referenced during the meeting, click here.
During the meeting, Interim City Manager Jared Jones expressed that the City of Panama City has gained significant insight in redeveloping the Panama City Marina since the initial ENA was signed with Mr. Bob Sonnenblick in May 2016.
The accomplishments include:
- The Mayor and Commissioners through healthy discussions with the public have identified what is important and desired by the community in marina redevelopment.
- Improve and expand the Marina Civic Center to include conference space
- Green park space
- New fishing pier
- New Marina docks with long-term, day-trip, and transient slips
- Include at least one hotel, two or more restaurants, and retail space
- Improved parking
- The marina redevelopment project has put the Panama City Marina on the national map.
- Madison Marquette Leasing, Inc., Hotel equities Group, LLC, Marriott International, SMG Theaters, AEG and Bellingham Marine have provided information of interest
- The City has obtained detailed information on construction costs for the marina, hotels, Marina Civic Center improvements, and other buildings.
- The redevelopment project lead to the acquisition of Snug Harbor Marina which will soon be developed to serve the downtown area.
The Commission has not voted on how to move forward yet, but Interim City Manager Jared Jones recommend the Commission schedule a meeting with Economic Consultant Owen Beitsch to discuss:
- A Request for Qualifications for a developer or developers
- Obtain feasibility studies for the different desired uses that I mentioned on the marina
Mr. Beitsch has indicated that individual feasibility studies, that would be useful for both the city and the chosen developer, could be obtained for $12,500 to $17,500 for each individual study. A study of the civic center, hotel(s), restaurants, marina and retail space would cost in the $75,000 range.
At the proposed meeting, Jones said Mr. Beitsch could help the Commission in working through the desired uses, how to attract developers to the project and the desirability of and timing for obtaining the feasibility studies.
The City Commission in April of 2014 approved a Sources Sought Document that requested interested developers to propose a redevelopment of the City marina. The City received six proposals in July of 2014 and commenced discussions with the six proposing developers culminating in a presentation to the Commission from five of the developers (one dropped out) in November of 2015. From the presentations, the Commission selected two companies to continue negotiations with (Home Fed and Great South). Exclusive negotiating agreements were entered into with both developers in February that required additional work from both developers to determine which one would ultimately be selected by the Commission. Great South dropped out of the process in May, 2015 and then ultimately Home Fed did also in July of 2015. Home Fed, however, continued to work on the Marina Redevelopment Project and brought Bob Sonnenblick to meet with the City in early 2016. After discussion and a presentation to the Commission, the City entered into an ENA with Sonnenblick Development by the end of May 2016.
The City has spent $238,554 on attorney and consultant fees since April, 2016 when the Commission began conversations with Mr. Sonnenblick. Overall, the city has paid $565,547 in invoices with the bulk of the total being paid in Fiscal Year 2015 when the Commission was interviewing developers.
To view a break down of the numbers by fiscal year, which runs October 1st through September 30th, click here.