PCB Gains Three Major Projects in 2024


By Ed Offley

Panama City Beach will see significant gains in sports, entertainment and culture as three new development projects get underway this year.

Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show PCBSuperstar entertainer Dolly Parton is bringing her Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show to the city with the construction of a 60,000 square-foot indoor theater complex that will seat more than 1,000 at a time. Entertainment will include live performances where the Crimson and Sapphire pirates battle on deck, in the water of the 15-foot-deep lagoon, and in the “sky” above two full-sized pirate ships that serve as the stage.

“I’m so excited about bringing this show to such a great destination,” Parton said in a mid-December announcement. “With pirates, mermaids, exciting acrobatics, pyrotechnics and even a few songs that I wrote, it’s a show that is prefect for all ages.” This marks the third Pirates Voyage project Parton has created; the other two are in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

The $60 million project will be constructed in a western extension of Pier Park on the south side of Panama City Beach Parkway, with groundbreaking scheduled this month. When open later in 2024, it will create 300 jobs.

“It’s another great family entertainment venue that’s chosen Panama City Beach as its destination to house its business,” said PCB Mayor Mark Sheldon. “Dolly is really excited about it, and we’re excited to bring in a world-class entertainment destination for our community.

This year will also bring a treat to golfing enthusiasts. On December 14, City Council approved a conditional use permit for the St. Joe Company to build a 38,000 square-foot large golf-entertainment facility to be built on an 11.3-acre tract west of Powell Adams Drive and south of a planned extension of L.C. Hilton Drive.

The Topgolf facility will include a two-level golf driving range, restaurant and meeting spaces. It will feature 72 hitting bays, and a miniature golf course.

Construction is expected to start in several weeks, with a grand opening anticipated in early 2025. The project will create about 300 jobs and generate approximately $750,000 in annual tax revenues, according to Topgolf representative Todd Waldo.

“I think it brings great diversity, and I’m very excited to see this project move forward,” City Council member Mary Coburn said after the vote.

A third development announced for the city this year will end a 13-year drought for Beach book lovers.

The St. Joe Co., which owns the Pier Park North retail center along with joint venture partner Casto, announced on December 14 that it will open a new Barnes & Noble bookstore sometime in early spring. When the Borders bookstore at Pier Park closed in 2011, it left city residents without a bookstore.

“Pier Park North has a strong collection of retail, dining and service businesses, and we are thrilled to add a Barnes & Noble bookstore to the mix,” said Samantha Walton, Director of Commercial Sales and Leasing for St. Joe. “We’re confident that there is truly something for everyone here, and we’re happy to be able to add to the variety of options for shoppers.”