Construction zones in Destin

Savannah Vasquez
svasquez@thedestinlog.com
This building at 517 U.S. Highway 98 will soon reopen as popular Mexican restaurant Burrito Del Sol.

There are many construction projects underway right now in Destin, some to existing buildings and some to vacant lots dotted throughout town.

Of those projects there are three buildings along U.S. Highway 98 that are currently under renovation and The Log reached out to discover just what new businesses may soon make their way to Destin.

The bright yellow building at 517 U.S. Highway 98, beside Mama Sherry’s Pizza Wings & Things, has been several restaurants over the past few years; from Malibu Jack’s to El Abuelo Cafe to Caribbean Joe’s. Now, the building looks to host one of the area’s popular Mexican restaurants.

“It’s going to be a Burrito Del Sol,” said Jeff Brice of Hemingway Construction Inc. “They are adding another building to their business in Fort Walton Beach.”

Burrito Del Sol Owner Evans Hammet said that the new construction will include expanding the existing building to accommodate more seating for both indoor and outdoor dining with the added bonus of a deck.

“We are adding 850 square feet of air conditioned and heated seating and another 300 square feet of decking that wraps around from the south to the west,” Hammet said. “We are trying to design it to fit in to the traditional style you see in Destin. My brother Brooks a I run it together and grew up in Destin, so we are excited to be back in town,” said Hammet.

Burrito Del Sol first opened in Destin along the harbor as an Airstream food truck in 2012 before moving to a brick and mortar in Fort Walton Beach in 2013. Plans for the new Destin location are set to be completed by July.

The drive-thru coffee kiosk at 327 Harbor Blvd. that once hosted Bad Ass Coffee is also seeing renovations. The kiosk has undergone some painting and the parking lot has been pulled up to make room for new asphalt.

La Dolce Vita, a water sports equipment rental service sits just behind the kiosk, and when asked what is being done to the location, the owner’s daughter gave a hint.

“My father owns that building and we will be reopening it as a coffee drive-thru under a different name,” said Jenifer Rohrberger. “It will be drive-thru coffee and breakfast pastries and it will be called Birdie’s.”

Rohrberger said she will be running the coffee shop and hopes to open up by early summer.

Finally, the old Winn Dixie location in the Downtown Destin shopping center near Old Time Pottery is seeing some work. Wooden blockades have been set up in the parking lot to impede traffic near the entrance and braces have been placed on the roof-top. Since Winn Dixie moved into 98 Palms about 15 years ago, the strip mall unit has sat vacant.

As for the vacant lots, a parcel at 34751 Emerald Coast Parkway beside Mat-tress Firm has sold. According to the Okaloosa County Appraiser’s website, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services brokered the sale March 23 for $1.235 million dollars to Terra Destin LLC. of Birmingham, Alabama.

“They submitted a plan to us that shows a strip mall building called Destin Retail at Kelly Plantation with four units with a mix of restaurant, package and shipping and retail,” said Marissa Martinez of the Okaloosa County Growth Management Department. “Of course, between now and the build-out those leases could change.”

Another plot of land, located on the corner of Henderson Beach Drive and Commons Drive, is currently listed as under contract. The 2.55-acre site was last sold as part of a four-piece bundled parcel for $3.475 million dollars in 2012. The buyer at the time was World Choice Investments LLC, which is affiliated with famous musician Dolly Parton.

John Paul Somers of Somers & Company brokered the 2012 deal and is again the broker in the current contract. When asked if he could give any details on the potential buyer, Somers said he could not as he signed a non-disclosure agreement.

“Unfortunately, I’m under an NDA so I can’t comment on it,” he said.

However Somers did explain that an adjacent 12.52-acre parcel, located at 4320 Commons Drive, is also under contract with a different buyer. Both of the parcels were under the original four-piece deal with World Choice but are now being sold to two separate parties.

“It originally had four parcels, but there was a lot split and now there are two,” Somers said. “Future use of the smaller parcel will most likely be for commercial use while the larger acreage of the other may be used as multi-family.”