Panama City Beach experiencing a hotel boom

The 255-room Embassy Suites hotel is expected to be completed in 2021. (The St. Joe Company)
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) -- Chances are when you're driving; you pass one, two, or even three construction sites in Panama City Beach. Supply and demand; that's how city manager Mario Gisbert explains it.

One empty lot off Front Beach Road may not look like much now, but in 2021, a 255-room Embassy Suites hotel is expected to be built on it. This hotel is one of three in the works under the management of the St. Joe Company.

"I think St. Joe as being a local company that has a lot of land. We're continuing to look at all of our real estate holdings to look at new opportunities whether it be hotels or other hospitality offerings, is what we continue to do," said the St. Joe Company's Senior Vice President Patrick Murphy.

Also in the works: a TownePlace Suites next to Frank Brown Park, strategically located near Pier Park like Embassy Suites.

"The growth of Panama City [Beach] through Pier Park is a great location for us. So, we've seen what the city has done to really turn Panama City [Beach] in a great direction right now. So, the Embassy Suites at Pier Park, with the success we've seen at Pier Park, was kind of a no brainer for us as a company," said Murphy.

The third hotel in the works under the St. Joe Company will be located next to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.

Panama City Beach has steadily been growing over the years.

"The hotel boom that's going on is because the beach has actually been in need of hotels. It has had plenty of condominiums for the last probably 12 to so years," said Gisbert.

Condominiums that Gisbert says are now full.

"This is supply and demand. And there is a demand for that type of product, so it is coming to the beach," said Gisbert.

And the demand isn't limited to lodging.

"Retail, restaurant, entertainment. Those three items are built to meet the needs of the tourist population, the 17 million people," said Gisbert.

Gisbert also said it's important to note these hotels weren't planned overnight. They have been in the works for more than a year now, proving that Panama City Beach has been growing for a while.

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