TC’s Front Porch Developer to sell portion of Navarre Town Center Property

Posted on April 28, 2024 by Romi White

MLS photo of property

Developer Bob Benaquis in January withdrew a controversial zoning request which would be required to bring his planned Navarre Town Center development to fruition. Now he’s listed for sale two of those parcels on U.S. 98, totaling 1.24 acres, and the $1.86 million listing states more acreage is available. 

The two parcels are listed together and provide 270 feet on U.S. 98 between Presidio Street to the west and Luneta Street to the east. Currently those parcels are occupied by multi-tenant retail, such as Turtle’s Nest and Bulldog Brewing Company, which located inside a two-story building with food truck vendors outside.

The commercial listing states: “The seller is the visionary for the proposed ‘’Navarre Town Center.’ The development of a high-end hotel, condo, or restaurants here would be the first step toward fulfilling his vision.”

Benaquis has been trying to bring his “Navarre Town Center” dream to fruition for more than a decade.

In June 2022 he purchased the two parcels which are now up for sale, along with two others, for $1.4 million.

An August 2022 sketch by DAG Architects showed Benaquis was hoping to build a multi-story resort combining commercial and residential. However, that plan required multiple zoning changes, which he so far has failed to achieve.

County Commissioners in September 2022 voted to vacate a 600-foot portion of Luneta Street from U.S. 98 to Esplanade as requested by Benaquis, who at that time said a “coordinated access route” to the development would be better.

Benaquis on August 21, 2023 told South Santa Rosa News he was “scratching every penny to ensure the Centennial Bank mortgage for this property gets paid,” adding, “We are days away from financial security, I’m told.” Then on October 30 Benaquis stated, “I really have gone through hell to get here, alone because my Edwin Watts golf shop guys been in a divorce for 3 years. There went my money guy.”

Fast forward to November 2023, and the Santa Rosa County Zoning board voted 6-2 to delay until February 2024 making any recommendation on Benaquis’ request to lump multiple zoning requests into one Planned Business District zoning, citing a need for more information.

Santa Rosa County Planning & Zoning Director Shawn Ward in January 2024 announced Benaquis had withdrawn the rezoning request and the matter would not be on the February agenda as planned.


View of U.S. 98 from property