PANAMA CITY BEACH — A defunct golf course soon might be redeveloped to create more housing opportunities on the Beach.
More than two years after Hurricane Michael forced the Hombre Golf Course to permanently close, owner George Roberts said he has a plan to maximize his property.
So far, construction has been approved only for the commercial lots and about 60 single-family homes on the Hombre property, according to information provided by the city. The other proposed houses and townhomes are being reviewed.
Roberts, who purchased the golf course in 2015, said he hopes to build more than 80 townhomes, about 180 single-family homes and six commercial lots in place of the closed course, located on Coyote Pass off Back Beach Road in Panama City Beach.
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“We never wanted to close the golf course down, (but) the cost to get it back operational was just more … than what we could stand to invest back into the golf course itself,” he said.
Vice Mayor Geoff McConnell said the idea that someone wants to add more homes to the community shows how “desirable” of a place PCB is to live.
McConnell added that because the city is driven by tourism, housing can be expensive on the Beach. These new homes could help alleviate that issue.
“In a coastal community that has … (a) tourism-based economy, you’re going to have escalated property values in that area just because it’s a much more desirable area to live,” he said. “That does create some issues with having some gaps between affordability and of the medium-income folks and some of the higher-income folks.”
However, he said a good thing about the area is that it is diverse and there are many more affordable housing options in Bay County outside of the PCB city limits. Options, he added, are still within a short drive from the Gulf Coast.
Roberts said Monday he hopes to see homes pop up on the property during the next year with prices of $250,000 to $500,000.
“You always have a backup plan,” he said when asked if he ever foresaw having to make this much of a change. “If the golf course (couldn’t) make it, this is the best use for the rest of the property.
“… I think it will be a great opportunity for everybody,” Roberts added.