Construction nears for Destin Commons expansion

Dusty Ricketts | Northwest Florida Daily News

Site work on the Destin Commons expansion has been completed and construction should begin early next month.

Destin Commons last September announced the roughly 100,000-square-foot expansion in the southwest corner of the front parking lot along U.S. Highway 98. Work on the underground utilities and building pads started soon after the announcement.

“We have completed all of the underground utilities. We’ve got final permit approval for the buildings. We’re waiting on one final document before we can close on our loan, but everything is moving towards June 1 as a construction start date,” said Bob Perry, general manager of Destin Commons. “We expect to have a couple of major announcements within the next two to three weeks.”

The announcements will be the names of the two junior anchor businesses. Most of the details won’t be released until later this month, but Perry did offer a few hints.

“They’re both new to the market,” Perry said. “One is a major fashion retailer and the other one is a restaurant and entertainment concept.”

Over the next two to three weeks, tests will be done to make sure the water systems have been installed properly for the fire hydrants and the sprinkler systems. Compaction tests will also be completed on the building pads.

Destin Commons opened in November 2003 with 400,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space, as well as the Rave Motion Pictures movie theater. Rave was purchased last December and renamed AMC Destin Commons 14.

The shopping center is 100 percent leased.

Designs for the expansion have not been finalized, but preliminary plans called for more than 20 stores and three restaurants.

Perry said Destin Commons has received commitments or letters of intent for about 70 percent of the expansion, and he expects to be at 90 to 95 percent full or more by the time it opens next year.

“There will be kind of a staggered opening with certain components of it getting open as early mid-April and others coming on in May, June and July,” Perry said. “Hopefully nothing later than July. It depends on the length of the build out and the permitting process for each of the tenants.”