Beach Helicopter a go: Company will offer tours from helipad on Hwy. 98
After months of inactivity, Beach Helicopter is back in business.
"They are still able to go," Okaloosa County Growth Management Director Elliot Kampert told The Log Thursday. "They began work fair and square."
After the construction of a helipad wrapped up in 2012, work on the site of Beach Helicopter basically came to a halt when the property went into foreclosure, putting the future of the helicopter tourism company in jeopardy.
Dirt has recently been turned and palm trees planted on the 1.51-acre parcel, which was purchased for $1.2 million in June by Robert J. Guidry Florida Properties, LLC, according to records from the Okaloosa County Property Appraisers' website.
Kampert said that when a development order is issued it stays with the property. In this case the new property owner, who didn’t return multiple calls from The Log, agreed to lease the parcel to Beach Helicopter, whose owner Kim Langford told The Log "we have no comment right now."
The company would be the second tourism-based helicopter operator in Destin. Timberview Helicopters, which previously flew flights out of Destin Commons, operates out of the Destin Airport, and currently has a permit application on file through the Army Corps of Engineers to offer flights off of a floating barge in Destin harbor, on Crab Island and near the East Pass.
Despite an outcry from neighboring Kelly Plantation residents, Beach Helicopter was issued a development order before county officials passed an ordinance requiring all helicopter operations in the county to take off and land from an airport.
"They are the only ones that can use the development order," Kampert said.