Panama City commissioners move forward with marina partnerships

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – After nine months of negotiations, Panama City commissioners have finally agreed on a public-private partnership agreement to run the St. Andrews Marina.

While the ink was drying on that contract, they decided to move forward with the same type of deal for the Downtown Panama City Marina.

During Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners hammered out the last few changes in the lease agreement with St. Andrews Marina Partners, LLC, and then approved the deal. The terms of the 30-year agreement stipulate that St. Andrews Marina Partners will start paying the city rent on December 31, 2031.

The city will have to pay the group $12 million, by December 31, 2031, for the $25 million marina restoration project. That work will increase the marina size by 50%.

Commissioners added a clause that guarantees unlimited public access to the marina. It also bars the LLC from building anything else, like a hotel, without the commissioners’ permission.

Once that deal was approved, commissioners turned their sights to the Downtown Panama City Marina.

City officials have been trying to renovate and revitalize that property for nearly 20 years. One group of commissioners signed a deal with one group that included Destin developer Peter Bos.

When no one could decide on a direction to move, Bos and his group pulled out. Another group of commissioners signed a deal with the St. Joe company which eventually resulted in the Harrison Kitchen and Bar and the Hotel Indigo.

Hurricane Michael destroyed the functioning portion of the marina and damaged the infrastructure. On Tuesday, commissioners directed city staff to work with City Marina Partners, LLC for the Downtown Panama City Marina.

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