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Panama City Mall still empty after Hurricane Michael

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 5:36 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) - It’s been nearly two years since the Panama City Mall closed it’s doors after it was damaged by Hurricane Michael

Managers with the Panama City Mall say they’re working on redesigning the mall but at this time have not submitted plans to the city.

When looked at from Sky7, the top of the old Sears and Auto Center at the mall show holes in the roof and heavy damage from the storm.

Staff with Hendon Properties, who owns the mall, released plans to redesign the mall on their website. Staff says they’re showing the plans to potential retailers. The plans include residential buildings, free-standing outdoor shops and office space.

Hendon Properties have posted this mixed use plan to its website as a proposal for next steps in developing the Panama City Mall.
Hendon Properties have posted this mixed use plan to its website as a proposal for next steps in developing the Panama City Mall.(Hendon Properties)

“Ownership has not presented any plans or development order or rezonings or any other items that need to come before the planning board at this time nor the city commission,” Assistant City Manager Jared Jones said. “They’re still in the planning phase on what they’re going to do internally with that property.”

Officials say JCPenney’s and Dillards, as well as other stores operating at the mall, have made repairs and are deemed safe. The owners are also planning to make repairs to other sections of the mall.

Hendon Properties sent us this statement about the property:

“We remain committed to redeveloping Panama City Mall. Over the last 18+ months, we had regular conversations with our partners, including Dillard’s, JCPenney, and Seritage (formerly Sears) to discuss a collective vision for the site and their potential participation in a mixed-used development concept. Each of these anchors owns their respective building and parking lots and thus any redevelopment options or initiatives we wish to explore requires joint coordination and some cases, tenant approvals. So far, we continue to receive positive interest on all fronts and are keeping the lines of communication open.

Our current vision entails turning the site into an open-air mixed-use center with retailer opportunities and the potential to incorporate multifamily apartments and a hotel on-site. This plan would allow us to keep existing anchor boxes in place but will require demolishing what is currently the enclosed areas of the mall. Our team is in the midst of reviewing demolition feasibility and associated costs. Plans remain fluid and there is no established timeline to kick-off demolition or begin construction.

At this time, we do not have any intention to repair or reopen any closed sections of the mall. Roof damage on the former Sears building is the responsibility of Seritage. It is our understanding they are engaged with city officials on a plan to rectify. Roof sections over all other parts of the mall are secured and continue to be monitored on a regular basis.”

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