The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday discussed purchasing the old BeachBank building located at 5131 Ferdon Boulevard in Crestview and converting it into a north county tourism hub.
- The nearly $2 million purchase would turn the modern-style, 6,260-square-foot building on State Road 85 into a “visitor venture outpost,” said Deputy County Administrator Craig Coffey.
The building, constructed in 2009, features class A interior offices and comes furnished with built-ins, furniture and office equipment, he said.
“The intent is to make this an interactive center that really gets people to stop, gets them to interact with us and sets the tone for the tourism adventure they have ahead of them,” Coffey said.
The Tourism Department plans to use the lobby area, nearly 1,750 square feet, for interactive visitor displays.
A 1,000-square-foot former drive-thru teller area could be repurposed and the site offers a conference room and many ‘ready-to-go’ offices for staff.
The building’s prominent location near I-10 (intersection of PJ Adams and SR 85) would funnel visitors exiting the highway, Coffey explained. Its architecture and move-in ready amenities make the purchase a better value than constructing a new building.
- The facility would provide concierge services for visitors and serve as a hub for county tourism staff activities and planning future tourism projects in northern Okaloosa, Coffey said.
Commissioner Nathan Boyles said he supported the purchase but emphasized the need to show local residents direct benefits from expanded bed tax district projects. Boyles suggested incorporating recreational amenities at the site locals could also enjoy.
Commissioner Trey Goodwin said the project shows the county’s investment in boosting tourism in northern Okaloosa.
The commission unanimously approved the $2 million purchase and up to $500,000 in initial renovations (using tourism dollars). The facility could open this spring after renovations.