Excitement for the Destin Commons expansion has been mounting since it first broke ground two years ago, and with building close to the final stages, The Log got an inside look at what is shaping up behind the fences.



“We are going to open simultaneously as best we can on July first, or earlier,” said Destin Commons General Manager, Bob Perry. “A lot depends on how the weather affects us in the next three months.”



Perry explained that the heavy rains and rare ice storm this winter have delayed building a bit, but now construction is back on schedule.



“We’ve had a little bit of delay from rain but we’ve been able to catch up by working on Saturday and Sunday,” Perry said.



 Dozens of construction workers roamed the grounds last week placing stucco, working lifts, and laying flooring in preparation for the 100,000 square foot addition to the outdoor mall. The expansion will feature 22 new spaces with four restaurants lined up, and eight retail stores already signed.



“We have two tenants with a lease this close to signature,” Perry told The Log holding his finger an inch away from his thumb.



Perry was almost too excited to keep one pending restaurant under wraps.



“It will be a very popular spot,” he said. “It will have a tapas and wine component as well as a restaurant, and feature outdoor seating and live entertainment.”



Perry explained that the restaurant is recognizable, as it is not new to the industry, but will be new to our area.



“When they put their sign up it’s going do them great things I think,” he said.



Several rumors and guesses have begun to circle as to what the mystery restaurant may be. The most popular vote on the Destin Log Facebook page is The Cheesecake Factory.



Twelve tenants have already been revealed, with the two large anchor stores being Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill on the south end and fashion retail giant H&M on the north end of the new development.



 “There are four other Uncle Buck’s locations across the nation, but this is the first free-standing one,” Perry said, adding that the other locations are attached to mother store, Bass Pro Shops. Perry detailed that Uncle Buck’s will feature a 16-lane bowling alley, a seafood restaurant that seats more than 300, a 60-seat bar with a sunken ship display above it, and a billiards room fashioned after pool star Jeanette Lee, the “Black Widow.”



“There will also be outdoor seating, a fireplace and fire pit, and a walk-over bridge over a pond; a really elaborate plan,” said Perry.



H&M is well ahead of the other tenants with its construction progress, as teams were already working on the floors and interior.



“Each tenant has their own contractor to do their own interiors,” explained Destin Commons Marketing Coordinator Heather Pike. “We just provide the shell; we give them the canvas to do their artwork.”



H&M construction contract manager, Danny Miller was onsite and said that Destin has a lot to look forward to in the incoming clothing chain.



“We’ve opened seven stores this year already, and this is the smallest of them,” Miller said, adding that H&M requires at least 20,000 square feet for each location. “It’s a great store, and we just want to get it open.”



Perry told The Log that the expansion will meld into the existing development with landscaping, lighting and décor to match.



“The goal of this building is to keep in the same theme, color scheme and design as the original so that once it’s open and operating it will look as though it was built at the same time,” said Perry.



There will be a paved street running from the entrance in front of Sephora which will wrap around to the other side in front of Chipotle Mexican Grill and the other incoming restaurant. Additional parking to accommodate 200-300 new spaces will be added beside Uncle Buck’s, as well as pull in parking on the perimeter of the building and street parking along the center drive.



New landscaping features will also be added Perry shared.



“There will be a series of flag poles to honor the five branches of military service.”



The Nation’s flag will be 20-by-30 feet and fly on an 80-foot pole in the center of flags representing the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. Another unique feature such as an exotic tree or fountain may be added in front of Chipotle, Perry said adding that the ideas are, “still under internal debate.”



A large grand opening event is scheduled to take place for the expansion just prior to Independence Day weekend.



“Basically we are shooting for a grand opening July third,” said Pike. “It will coincide with the annual, 'Smoke On the Coast,' barbeque festival with local restaurants and businesses competing for best barbeque.”



Who's coming to the Commons?



Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill



Bass Pro Shops family restaurant, Uncle Buck’s offers fun, food and entertainment rivaling that of an amusement park. With an underwater theme, Uncle Buck’s has something for everyone. From the shark and alligator ball return machines in the bowling alley, to the barnacled ship wreck scene above the bar, children and adults alike will find a nautical adventure to discover.



Zoe’s Kitchen



This deli-style restaurant offers flavorful Mediterranean cuisine that is made fresh every day. Already located in the Destin Commons, the new location will double the restaurant’s current size. New menu items of beer and wine are also to be added.



Chipotle Mexican Grill



A nationwide gourmet burrito restaurant, Chipotle offers customers quality ingredients in fast food time. See your burrito creation made in front of you and then enjoy.



Yogo Mogo



A new local frozen yogurt shop, Yogo Mogo will offer a break from the summer heat with a delicious and completely personalized chilly treat. Build your own parfait concoction with several flavors, toppings and sauces to choose from.



H&M



H&M offers European-inspired clothing for men, women and children as well as trendy accessories, and home décor.



Charming Charlie’s



This ladies clothing, jewelry and accessories store is color coordinated to give a unique and helpful shopping experience.



Icing by Claire’s



A teen and young adult focused jewelry and accessories store, Icing has everything from earrings and bracelets to sandals and purses.



Everything But Water



A fashion-conscious women’s swimwear and beachwear store, Everything But Water carries designer swim labels and sundresses, and true to its name, the store carries stylish hats, jewelry, footwear and purses for a chic, magazine-worthy look that leaves only the waves to complete.



Destin Stars



This local ladies boutique offers a casual chic look, perfect for the beach or a date night on the town. From bright tribal patterns to classic lace dresses, Destin Stars has a unique fashion flare only Florida can offer.



Footlocker



The Footlocker features athletic shoes, clothing and accessories for both men and women. Carrying the top brands and leading footwear designs, this will be the place to shop for all sporting needs.



Sunglasses World



A company that began along the Gulf Coast, the people at Sunglasses World know exactly what lenses are needed to protect from the rays of the Sunshine State. Sunglasses World has all the leading brands and also offers replacement lenses, layaway and repair services.



Tervis Tumblers



Tervis Tumblers offers customizable insulated drinkware, to keep every beverage the perfect temperature. Tervis uses unique double-walled technology to keep the cup from sweating and losing its cold or hot component.