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.