By Steve Bornhoft for Emerald Coast Magazine

In an exercise becoming increasingly familiar in Bay County, the St. Joe Company conducted a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday. This one concerned a 120-room Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel already under construction just south of the Panama City Beach Sports Complex that opened earlier this year.

The four-story hotel will include one- and two-bedroom suites equipped with refrigerators and full kitchens. It is expected to open, said Andrew Czarnecki, managing director for St. Joe Club & Resorts, late in 2021 or the first quarter of 2022.

Czarnecki noted St. Joe’s continuing partnership with Hilton development and acknowledged project architect HC Architecture out of Atlanta and contractor Cardella Construction, headquartered in Plantation, Florida. Speaking from experience, he said that having a hotel within walking distance of tournament ball fields is a convenience valued by traveling players, parents and coaches.

Patrick Murphy, St. Joe’s senior vice president for operations, spoke to cooperation among the company, the City of Panama City Beach, Visit Panama City Beach and Bay County and introduced Dan Rowe, the president and CEO of Panama City Beach’s bed tax-funded tourism promotion organization.

Rowe saluted St. Joe as a corporate partner that is serving to diversify the economy in Bay County, generate employment and make projects including the Sports Complex and the A. Gary Walsingham Academy possible. The school, located across Chip Seal Parkway from the hotel site, will receive students in grades K-5. Its construction is projected to be complete in the summer of 2021.

“We can look forward to St. Joe announcing more projects including office space,” Rowe said. “They are strengthening all of the legs of the stool.”

Rowe said the Sports Complex has had a good first year despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and can be expected to perform even better in 2021. In combination with fields at the city’s Frank Brown Park, the complex is capable of accommodating tournaments larger than most facilities around the country can handle.

And, developments like Homewood Suites by Hilton figure to further enhance the experience of all who flock to the fields.

About Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach is situated on 27 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordering clear, emerald-green waters where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay converge. With 320 days of sunshine annually and attractions such as St. Andrews State Park and Pier Park, the region has long been favored by travelers seeking an affordable beach vacation with year-round offerings for families, couples, groups and adventure-seekers. These include championship golf courses, spas, sporting events, award-winning dining and diverse recreational activities. In addition, Panama City Beach’s Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport offers non-stop flights on Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. For more information, call 850-233-5070 or visit the official website of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau at Stay connected with Panama City Beach on Twitter (@Visit_PCB), Instagram (@Visit_PCB) and Facebook (@VisitPanamaCityBeach).

About Visit Panama City Beach

Visit Panama City Beach is the official destination marketing organization for Panama City Beach, Florida. The award-winning organization has earned industry accreditation (DMAP) from Destinations International, the world’s leading authority in destination marketing, and exists to drive economic opportunity, job creation, community sustainability and quality of life for its residents through marketing, promotion and stewardship of the destination’s REAL.FUN.BEACH. brand and attributes, tourism development, special event production, and managing beach re-nourishment and maintenance programs.

Media Contacts:

Gina Stouffer / Tori Beth Black                         Jayna Leach / Lacee Rudd

Lou Hammond Group                                       Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

843.408.4360 / 843.647.7389                           850.233.5070 / 850.233.5070