After partnering with a developer to build a 152-room, beachfront Holiday Inn Resort on 17 acres in Fort Walton Beach, officials at Eglin Air Force Base are seeking ideas for a 50-acre property in the same city on the Florida Panhandle.
“Some of our land was underutilized and not necessary for our mission needs,” Glenn Wagner, director of real estate for Eglin, told the Pensacola News Journal.
The 2014 project, built through an enhanced use lease, was so successful that the developer is building a 175-room Hilton Garden Inn next door, Wagner said.
The project also benefitted Eglin, generating revenue for the installation on property that couldn’t be used for a military purpose, offering discounts for military personnel to stay at the hotel and providing a rooftop setting for antennas used by the 96th Test Wing to perform telemetry operations. The site on Okaloosa Island is separated from the installation.
Eglin officials believe the 50-acre parcel, located near the Okaloosa County Courthouse in Fort Walton Beach, would be a good location for mixed-use development that might include small homes, an office park and stores. The Air Force hopes the project will benefit the base and the community, said base spokesman Mike Spaits.
The installation will host an industry day on Sept. 28 at the Holiday Inn Resort for developers and other interested parties.