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St. Joe's airport breaks ground May 2006

Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by Luke, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. Luke

    Luke Beach Crab

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  2. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    If the environmental permits are granted - and not contested - construction could begin next May on a 1,500-acre facility located on the 4,000- acre parcel. The airport could open in late 2008 or early 2009.

    The new Panama City-Bay County International Airport would be situated on 4,000 acres donated to the airport authority by the St. Joe Company. The airport authority late last month cleared the way for the land transfer. The site, now covered in pine trees, has been valued at $40 million.

    The Jacksonville, Fla.-based St. Joe Company is the largest owner of undeveloped land - mostly tree farms for its paper mill operations - in Florida. The bulk of the land is in the Panhandle area; its holdings include 346,000 acres along the Panhandle coast that is highly prized for development.

    While the initial development of the new airport is currently confined to two runways, including an 8,400-foot primary runway, and terminal facilities on a 1,500-acre parcel, Curtis said the entire 4,000-acre site would be able to handle long-term growth plans. A 12,000-foot runway has already been sited on the airport's master plan. By comparison, the new Panama City airport would encompass the same acreage as New York's JFK.

    The airport has attempted to get as much of its 40-year building plan permitted at this time since environmental impact and mitigation review processes can take decades, Curtis said. Under the state review process, Curtis said the airport is able to seek permits for almost 95 percent of the full site. The state permit is expected this month, he added. The federal review rules will not allow regulators to grant approvals for projects long into the future. Curtis said the airport now anticipates a preliminary ruling from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by Nov. 4.

    As part of the environmental review process, the airport has agreed to turn over to Florida 10,000 acres to replace any wetlands that the new airport may disturb.

    In a first for development projects in the Florida Panhandle area, the airport authority and St. Joe have submitted a 72,000-acre parcel to local authorities for extensive zoning and land use controls. (The parcel is 20 percent larger than the District of Columbia.) St. Joe controls 40,000 acres surrounding West Bay. All of the waterfront land - on which 16,000 housing units could have been built under its old zoning - will be placed into a conservation easement. The 10,000 acres that would be used to replace any wetlands are part of this easement.

    Curtis said because such a large area is now undeveloped, the airport has been able to implement safety and buffer zones around the airport. The land use plans call for only light commercial and industrial development around the airport. All future residential communities would be located away from the airport to mitigate noise problems. "It is very unique to be handed a clean sheet of paper and to design a new airport and to do it right," he said.
     
  3. Dabell

    Dabell Beach Fanatic

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    The whole thing is getting me happy! I cant wait to, fly in on a non stop flight and it will be closer than PNS!
     
  4. SHELLY

    SHELLY SoWal Insider

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    And far more expensive
     
  5. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

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    Is the current PCB airport really that horrible?

    It just seems like there's a certain "if you build it, they will come" attitude with the new airport even though American commercial air right now is a mess as a whole, and it seems like the carriers are pretty conservative about adding flights and routes.

    I can see there really being a difference 10-15 years from now, but overall carrier growth being a long slow process between now and then.
     
  6. Camp Creek Kid

    Camp Creek Kid Christini Zambini

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    The problem with the PC airport is that it is too small for large jets which limits service. Currently, there is (small) jet service to Orlando, or connections via regional jet or prop planes to Atlanta and Memphis (and maybe Cincinnati). Only Northwest and Delta fly out of PC.

    However, the termial at PC is very nice and I like the small airport. You can always find parking and you don't have to get there early for security because there are just a few flights a day.

    I disagree with SHELLY that the new airport will be "much more expensive" than Pensacola. Part of the point of building a new airport is to allow for a greater variety of flights and carriers to increase competition. Also, even though it is currently usually more expensive to fly out of PC than Pensacola, for us, the convenience of flying out of PC is more important than saving a few bucks.
     
  7. TooFarTampa

    TooFarTampa SoWal Insider

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    Very well said CCK. I find it very interesting that (if the market doesn't collapse, which one-note SHELLY seems to think will happen) the funds from the sale of the current airport land -- for coastal development -- will be able to cover or come close to covering construction cost of the airport. This is good planning. I have never used the current PC airport, but probably would not given the size of the planes that fly into and out of it. (irrational I know)

    I bet Southwest will be there in a heartbeat.
     
  8. SHELLY

    SHELLY SoWal Insider

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    Then why aren't they flying in to Valpariso (VLP) Eglin/Ft Walton? That airport is much closer to SoWal than Pensacola? REASON: It's cheaper to fly into PNS.
     
  9. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    I fly into the current Panama City Airport and think it's very easy to navigate because it's so small. I also think it's closer and much easier than Valparaiso for those of us who live on the Rosemary Beach/Seacrest beach side of 30A.

    I don't know how the new airport will affect airfares, but it will most likely enable more direct flights into the airport. Right now, we can't get a direct flight from Detroit because, as was already noted, the current airport landing strips can't accommodate the larger planes (thus the use of smaller planes, which I'm OK with).

    I believe the new airport will be a bit closer to SoWal and direct flights may be available -- I'm looking forward to both of these changes.

    My only concern is that I hope we don't hear airplanes fly over SoWal.
     
  10. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

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    Digging around a bit:

    Bay County- 386,661 passengers in 2004

    Okaloosa Regional- est. 520,000 passengers in 2004

    Okaloosa has access to runways long enough that a 747 with a piggybacked space shuttle on it can take off and land, and even with a bigger passenger base, the difference in airlines is a couple more Delta Mainline flights instead of ASA flights (evil commuter airline! evil!) and a couple daily 50 passenger commuter jets from American Eagle and Continental.

    I want to say both airports had similar US Air flights until that company pulled out of its Florida hub and spokes because of bankruptcy.

    I'm guessing that in the short to mid term, carrier gains for the new PC airport would be a shift to Delta Mainline and its bigger jets from ASA (Can I hear a hell yeah!) and the addition of a couple of 50 passenger American Eagle and Continental Express commuter jet flights.

    As for Southwest, it looks like the only places with small airport they go into are airports in states where they can legally use Love Field in Dallas as a hub. Right now those states are Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Alabama. So I'd guess we'd see Southwest go into Mobile before they went into any place in the FL Panhandle, unless they actually repeal the Wright Ammendment. (which limits commercial air at Love Field) Which probably won't happen anytime soon because there's too much interest in keeping American somewhat solvent right now, and they've got a giant hub at the other DFW airport.
     
  11. TooFarTampa

    TooFarTampa SoWal Insider

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    Excellent digging beachmouse! Let me add another hell yeah on the big planes from the ATL. That would be huge.

    As for Southwest, I wasn't even thinking about points ... well, out west that might want to use Love as a hub. I was really thinking about our St. Louis and Cleveland and Houston friends and even B'hamers (or would that be too short a flight?). We have had renters from all those places and can see how a direct hop from Southwest would be beneficial. I have heard of an increase in interest from Midwesterners and some direct flights on Southwest or resort-oriented low budget airlines (whichever they are, I can't keep them straight) would be great for opening up the market.

    Actually, I was mostly thinking about direct flights from Tampa, but since I might be the only one on it (except maybe for Oldtimer :D ) I guess they can't add a whole airline just for me.
     
  12. Rita

    Rita margarita brocolia

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    Good homework Beachmouse! :clap_1: Thanks for the input.
    I can't see the Wright Amendment getting appealed anytime soon either. It's pretty much just serving for debate right now.
     
  13. BigR

    BigR Beach Comber

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    I for one am stoked to hear of this development. The Nashvegas to Grove By the Sea drive is a bummer to say the least. By the time this opens, however, the only carrier left standing may be Southwest. If that's the case, I would think that the fares might not be as good as you think. I've investigated some new options, such as Arrive Air, an upstart scheduled/charter outfit out of Atlanta, but the $$ still seem too high. I wish I wasn't in my late 40's. I'd get that pilots license and head off into the wild blue yonder, w/ my GPS locked in to Sowal.
     
  14. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

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    Actually I'd call Tampa one of the more likely suspects down the line because one of Continental's commuter partners picked up a bunch of the old USAir intra-Florida routes. You can get from VPS to Tampa non-stop and direct if you don't mind the wee planes. I'd guess PCB-Tampa would be likely as well if/when Continental starts service at the new airport.
     
  15. Camp Creek Kid

    Camp Creek Kid Christini Zambini

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    Can anyone say JetBlue? As the dinosaur carriers become fossilized, new airlines with modern business plans will take over. That is a good thing.
     
  16. STL Don

    STL Don Beach Fanatic

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    This St. Louis friend can't wait for Southwest to have a direct flight from St. Louis to Panama City. Sure would be a pedal to the metal 12 hour drive.
     
  17. wetwilly

    wetwilly Beach Fanatic

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    How about a budget resort airline like Hooters Air. Crazy concept but they are flying out of ATL to Myrtle and HHI and I'm sure will look at jumping on the panhandle whe the new PCB Int'l opens up. JetBlue, AIRTRAN, and others will look at it as well. If Delta pulls out bankrupcy, then Song might make sense too.

    I would guess if it is a reasonable rate then any would do for the folks now driving 10+ hours from Ohio, Missouri, Minn, Tx and other locals. :welcome:
     
  18. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

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    Getting AirTran into another airport in the Panhandle is going to cost someone. They've got huge ongoing subsidies and travel guarantees as part of the agreement when they moved from VPS to Pensacola, and would probably want something similar to go into PCB.

    Hooters Air would probably be more likely, though I'm not sure how they'd fit with the attempts to gentrify PCB.

    There's a daily nonstop VPS-STL flight from American Eagle, so AA might be interested in a direct PCB flight if they get sick of dealing with the military restrictions at VPS.
     
  19. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    Maybe Hooters Air can get together with the Girls Gone Wild guy who lives in Panty Maw Sity Beach (when not in jail), to create a Girls Gone Wild / Hooters Spring Break discount rate to PC goers.:idontno:
     
  20. TooFarTampa

    TooFarTampa SoWal Insider

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    :rolling: :rolling: :rolling:

    SJ I think you missed your calling!
     

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