H&LA’s recent research for a project near Panama City Beach, Florida revealed some interesting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have an impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in Panama City Beach and the surrounding areas in 2023 and beyond.
- In 2019, the new Panama City Beach Sports Complex opened along Chip Seal Parkway, featuring nine synthetic turf fields, four grass fields, tournament buildings, and two championship fields with 1,500 spectator seats. This $41 million outdoor complex is now used for soccer, lacrosse, football, baseball, softball, and field hockey. In 2022, the complex was renamed the Publix Sports Park as part of an endorsement deal with the supermarket chain. Since opening, this major facility has had a significant impact on tourism in the area, drawing tens of thousands of visitors to the area for tournaments and other special events
Two new buildings are planned at the Publix Sports Park that will enable the complex to host indoor sports such as basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling. Plans call for a 100,000-square-foot building that would accommodate eight basketball courts and as many as 16 volleyball courts, as well as a separate 17,000-square-foot building with offices and meeting space. Once completed, these facilities will allow Publix Sports Park to significantly expand its schedule of events, creating an even greater impact on the area in terms of visitation and visitor expenditures for years to come.
- A new Homewood Suites hotel opened adjacent to the Publix Sports Park in March of 2022. This four-story hotel now offers 131 rooms and suites, as well as a swimming pool, fitness center, and outdoor grills.
- A new Embassy Suites hotel is now in the final stages of construction at the Pier Park retail and entertainment complex in Panama City Beach. This five-story, 255-room hotel will include a swimming pool, fitness center, meeting space, and restaurant. Representing a total investment of more than $39 million, the Embassy Suites Pier Park will be within a short walking distance of the beach.
- The new Bay County Skate Park is now under construction off Chip Seal Parkway near the Publix Sports Park. This $2 million, 20,000-square-foot attraction is scheduled to open by the end of May 2023, and it will include half pipes, quarter pipes, snake runs, and public restrooms. The Bay County Skate Park will be free to the public an open seven days a week.
- A new BigShots Golf franchise location is planned for a 13-acre site at the Legacy Golf Course in Panama City Beach. Similar to Topgolf, this multi-story attraction will feature 64 climate-controlled hitting bays, virtual golf games, a sports bar, and a private event space. Slated to open in 2024, BigShots Golf Panama City Beach will create about 150 new jobs.