PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – New plans are underway for a landmark building in Panama City after it was finally sold to developers.
The former Lisenby Hospital on 11th Street was built in the 1930s and eventually became a working assisted living facility until Hurricane Michael damaged the facility in 2018.
Now the building will be transformed into a space for modern living.
“We are happy to have the right buyer who has a vision for this,” said local real estate broker Kevin Wattenbarger, who led the effort to sell the property. “It was always kind of a toss-up. Should it be demo? Is it the highest and the best? Is it better to be renovated?
A new buyer said yes to the latter by purchasing the property through Wattenbarger and his team.
“We are happy to have sold it,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t the easiest list we’ve ever worked with.”
Wattenbarger said the layout of the building was a tough sell, as it was originally a hospital and ultimately a nursing home with wide hallways and many rooms. After Hurricane Michael, there is a lot to fix. However, Wattenbarger said the buyer sees the property’s potential.
“Their plan is to try to create a live working community,” he explained. “This would be the place where you can rent a unit where it would serve as a place of work and residence. “
He said the idea was to create townhouse-like spaces with work studios on the first floor and apartments upstairs, providing remote and self-employed workers with a productive environment in which to live and work.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s not just Panama City, but it’s happening elsewhere, and even COVID and the concert society and the way people work differently, that plays out well for that.”
Wattenbarger said he was excited to see how the plan unfolds, giving new life to another local historic building. Between 20 and 30 units could be built within a year and a half.
“It will be especially gratifying to reduce the number of years from five to ten and know that our efforts will not only benefit the community, but also provide housing and work areas and also put property on the roll. tax and make it productive, ”he said. .