Historic Panama City school building is turning into an apartment complex

The old grammar school in downtown Panama City is officially off the market and turning into a...
The old grammar school in downtown Panama City is officially off the market and turning into a family-friendly apartment complex.(WJHG/WECP)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 7:20 PM EDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A historic school building in downtown Panama City is turning from a place to learn into a place to live.

“In its history, it’s always been an educational building. The future of it will be multi-family kind of loft-style apartments,” SVN Southland Commercial Real Estate Marketing Director Kevin Wattenbarger said.

The old Panama Grammar School facility on Harrison Avenue was built back in 1914. It was most recently used as an education center for First Presbyterian Church of Panama City until a hard hit from Hurricane Michael left it out of order.

“The interior was heavily damaged by water. The roof, a large portion of it was ripped off,” Pastor Ron Brown said.

The church put it on the market in 2019, but wouldn’t sell to just anyone.

“I love to see the buildings, you know any of the historic buildings preserved. We’ve got some beautiful buildings here, but we want to save all the ones that we can,” Brown said.

A development company out of Alabama with the same idea in mind bought the building for just under $1 million.

“They really want to save the integrity of the main building here and we desired that. And I know a number of people desired that in the community too,” Brown said.

The developers plan to transform the building into family-friendly apartments, but won’t be getting rid of the old school’s charm.

“I mean the outside and the aesthetics is not going to change. I mean they’re going to preserve the character and preserve the look,” Wattenbarger said.

Officials said the apartment complex will have more than 100 units but don’t know when the developers plan to start the project.

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