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Old Capital City Bank to become boutique hotel

The Capital City Bank building on Highway 98 has stood in disrepair since Hurricane Micahel. After receiving a vote of approval at the most recent city commissioners meeting, the space’s new owners are looking to change that.

Boat Ramp Inn llc, run by Marianna-based Allen Harkins, is looking to convert the historic structure into a boutique hotel.

The hotel, as designed, will include 27 guest rooms.

According to a request for special exception submitted to the city by Blackfin Construction llc, the contractor for the hotel project, “it is the intent of the owners to keep the historic aspect and small town feel (of the existing structure).”

“They have designed a project that fits nicely into our community,” wrote Blackfin’s president, Ben Carnes.

The special exception requested, which was also approved by the city commissioners, involved the construction of outdoor spaces on the historic building’s existing balcony structure, which now protrudes four feet into the city’s later-established right of way.

The special exception and development order were unanimously approved by the city’s planning board in a four-minute meeting on May 1. The planning board also approved an ice machine facility that would be located next to the hotel, but this did not make it through the city commissioners’ review.

“This came before the planning board the first of the month. The planning board reviewed it and did give a unanimous recommendation for the special exception and for the development order of the hotel and the ice machine that would be adjacent,” said city manager Jim Anderson.

“I actually talked to Ben a little bit about the development order, which we’re excited about,” said Mayor Rex Buzzett at the city’s May 16 meeting. “… There was one item on there that I have a question about, and that’s the ice machine, which is in the parking lot of that property. I asked him if it was extremely important to the project. He indicated it was not.”

Buzzett stated that previous applications for an ice machine in similar locations had been denied, citing concerns for traffic. The development order was approved on the condition that the ice machine was not included, though the commissioners stated Boat Ramp Inn llc could apply for a separate development order for the ice machine in the future.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

One Comment

  1. What a sad way to use this space. We don’t need more places to stay we need more things for families to do. Wouldn’t it be great if this was an aquarium with a space in the bay for injured marine animals to be rehabilitated? If we want Port St Joe to be Panama City hotels and bars are the way to go but if we want it to be different why don’t we open businesses that bring in families. Gives them something fun and educational to do.

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