The revitalization of what old-timers called the St. Joe railroad yard property got underway Tuesday.
Ground-breaking was conducted for the new Capital City Bank building going up at the corner of Avenue A and U.S. 98.
And just beyond the fencing surrounding the construction zone sat the piece of land the city of Port St. Joe is currently negotiating to purchase from the St. Joe Company, which partnered with Capital City Bank on its new location.
“We love ground-breakings,” said Jorge Gonzalez, President and CEO of the St. Joe Company.
The ground-breaking for Capital City was particularly exciting, Gonzalez added.
“This is the first commercial building we have built in Port St. Joe,” Gonzalez said. “We hope it is not the last.”
Gonzalez talked about the Port St. Joe Marina project said the company hoped to break ground soon on the dry storage building as plans for the site come into focus.
Gonzalez also noted the Port St. Joe branch was the second project with Capital City Bank Group, the first going up in Bay County.
But Tuesday was Capital City’s day and one for renewing commitments for the first bank to open, in a trailer, after Hurricane Michael.
“There was never any doubt Capital City Bank Group would rebuild in Port St. Joe,” said Ed Canup, Chief Operating Officer of Capital City Bank Group. “We believe in communities.
“We are celebrating our 125th year. We are proud about all our relationships … but also about communities.”
Port St. Joe Mayor Rex Buzzett praised local bank president Wayland Fulford for opening so quickly after the hurricane to provide people access to their money.
The bank continues to operate from the trailer adjacent to its former building: Fulford said the new building should be ready late this year or early next.
Buzzett added thanks to St. Joe to assisting in the revitalization of an area where the company’s headquarters and rail yard once dominated the landscape.
He also noted that Port St. Joe has survived four natural disasters and one economic disaster.
“We keep coming back,” Buzzett said. “That is the resiliency showed here (today).”
“I am so excited about we are going to do here.”