Tag Archives: Destin

CanalSide Destin

26 Apr

On the one hand, I totally understand a governmental entity demanding concessions in exchange for granting huge breaks to a private business.

On the other hand, I totally understand businesses balking.

Whilst on vacation, I happened upon a place in Destin, Florida called HarborWalk Village. It’s right at the edge of Destin, on its harbor, right next to where the fishing boats dock. Parking, by the way, was free and convenient. The centerpiece of HarborWalk Village is the luxury condominium development that features a water taxi to take you to a nearby beach. The relatively small area is charming, walkable, and packed with locally owned businesses selling everything from hair wraps to $300 running shoes. There are also about 5 bar/restaurants right along the boardwalk where you can enjoy a nice meal with a sea breeze and watch the boats come and go.

I had earlier jokingly tweeted that I was at a Bass Pro at a mall and that it was “just like CanalSide”. When I later noted that I was at HarborWalk, Brian Castner noted that this was, in fact, like CanalSide and directed me to this post of his.

He’s right, of course. CanalSides are a dime a dozen. Development of a waterfront area that features, you know, stuff people might want to do and see, is a no-brainer, regardless of the weather. We use crutches galore to explain why we can’t, why we won’t.

But we can and we should.

We pat ourselves on the back for making patently obvious decisions. It would be like asking for a medal for figuring out to use our noses to smell. CanalSide, or something like it, should have been built years ago. I guess we should be somewhat thankful we waited this long, because, well, just look at what this city threw up in the name of development at various points in the last 30 years. Most of it is shockingly horrible.

If the city wins and gets its precious Community Benefits Agreement, do we win? Do we lose? Does the project get done?

You’re all watching the Sabres game right now, but you’re all ignoring the fact that Buffalo’s real spectator sport – its real pastime – is making the same mistakes over and over again.

Instead of a CBA, what CanalSide needs is legislation designating it a reverse Empire Zone, where sales tax is waived so that the tax benefits flow directly to the consumer.