Panama City’s SweetBay continues to grow in the town’s housing, retail center

PANAMA CITY – When SweetBay held its big opening in 2016, it was always in the master plan to have a solid mix of housing options and a retail downtown.

The plan proceeded faster than expected.

SweetBay developers are taking advantage of 700 acres of land that was formerly Panama City International Airport before it moved to its current location in the West Bay. From housing, to expensive apartments and a town center, development has been faster than expected.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida announced on June 23 a new release of 23 homes to be built on SweetBay. The new homes cost $ 300,000 and $ 500,000.

The latest homes are part of the Double SweetBay Expansion.

Stage Two of 250 or more homes isn’t the only thing being built on SweetBay. Construction is well underway on 360 luxury apartment units. The hope is that the additional houses and apartment units will help with the development of the town center which is also expected to be built in SweetBay.

“We also have an approved grocery anchor for (town center) and by the time we finish some internal discussions with them, we hope to announce it in the next few months,” said Holly Pituch, director of marketing for at SweetBay. “That will start with some development for an actual first phase of a town center that will have some retail and office components.”

Panama City was recently listed as a top 10 destination in the US for people who moved during the COVID-19 pandemic. SweetBay needs to walk away in doing so to make sure increased housing demand is met.

Samuel Taylor Homes is the current builder, but SweetBay added Harris Doyle Homes to the mix. Harris Doyle Homes is assisting with the construction of second phase homes.

According to Pituch, 70% of the people who buy homes on SweetBay are from Florida. Some came from outside Bay County because of military assignments or they were people who could work remotely. However, some people will move from Panama City Beach to SweetBay.

According to numbers compiled from March, 4% of sales came from Alabama, 3% of sales came from Georgia, and 15% from other states. 15% include such states as Kansas, Tennessee and Arizona.

Pituch has been with the company since 2014, before there was anything at SweetBay other than the former terminal building that was turned into University Academy. She said it was amazing to watch SweetBay grow in front of her eyes.

“It’s great from watching it from concepts on paper to reality and seeing it grow, grow and grow even more,” Pituch said. “Every time we get new aerial photos and new drone photography, we’re amazed at how much growth has grown since the grand opening.”

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