Orange Beach finalizes purchase of beachfront property for residents in collaboration with a group of restaurants
(OBA®) – Orange Beach, AL – Orange Beach has purchased a beach. Who knew that the city of Orange Beach does not have a public beach, but after several years of research it is a reality.
On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, after months of negotiations and due diligence, the City of Orange Beach finalized the historic purchase of over 4 acres of beachfront property for city residents. The move is part of a public-private collaboration between the city and Orange Beach Land Company, LLC (OBLC), which is owned by co-owners of Flora-Bama, John McInnis and Cameron Price.
As part of the deal, OBLC purchased an adjacent 400-foot oceanfront property for its CoastAL restaurant development project. The entire 8.7 acre site with 800 feet of waterfront, which was once owned by the Gulf Coast Opportunity Fund Orange Beach Gulf Front LLC (Nathan Cox), is located across from Publix at The Shoppes in Palm Pointe. The purchase price of the city plot plus any improvements to be made by OBLC was $ 13 million in total, with the city paying just under $ 10 million up front and the additional $ 3 million to pay later when improvements are complete.
“This is a watershed moment and a historic investment,” said Mayor Tony Kennon. “We have been waiting for this for a very long time. Honestly, I never thought this would happen in my lifetime, but the city of Orange Beach now has its own urban beach. Land by the sea is a finite resource and nowadays it is extremely limited.
As part of the collaboration, the development of the CoastAL brand will include three single-storey buildings, including a 20,000 square foot restaurant, a 5,000 square foot retail building and a 3,000 square foot outdoor bar. . The buildings all surround a 15,000 square foot outdoor promenade and green space, and parking will be shared with the city.
A parking space zone will be reserved for residents only during the day or during peak hours to go to the beach, as determined by the city, and will consist of approximately 107 spaces. 56 additional spaces will also be for the exclusive use of residents for up to 30 days per year, depending on the city’s designation. Additional parking spaces will generally be shared between restaurant patrons and resident beach goers, although OBLC has the right to allow other people to use part of the parking lot and charge a fee.
The prominent beachfront property was once slated for two condo towers that rose to heights of 37 and 36 stories with a total of 276 units. Now this property will be the city’s first owned beach and the 400-foot shoreline at the base of Orange Beach Boulevard / Highway 161 will be preserved for Orange Beach residents to enjoy for generations to come.
“This is a premier Gulf front property that beachgoers see first when driving south,” Kennon said. “Instead of a high rise development, we will have this family-friendly waterfront to accommodate visitors with a first-class low-rise restaurant with lots of open space, and also an urban beach for our residents, who sacrifice a lot every summer. . This public-private partnership is part of this town hall’s objective of reducing density, if necessary. The developers have made Orange Beach their home, and they love our community as much as we do. It’s about finding a positive balance for our residents and for our tourism economy. This accomplishes both in one project. We are delighted with it.
On December 1, city council approved the proposed property zoning change for CoastAL beach development from BR-2 – high density beach resort – to PUD – planned unit development. Council approval followed the unanimous favorable recommendation of the Planning Commission for the rezoning on November 30th. The zoning change was conditional on Island Entertainment LLC (a subsidiary of OBLC) being able to close the property.
Given the property’s high visibility, a historic tower approximately 40 feet high will be built at the base of Orange Beach Boulevard and connected to pedestrian-friendly trails on the property.
“We are delighted to start turning our vision into reality,” McInnis and Price said in a joint statement. “We love that the general public has access to over 800 feet of waterfront and that Orange Beach residents finally have free priority parking on the Gulf. What Gulf Shores has in the public space on the beach is wonderful and now Orange Beach residents will have something very much like it. Combined with Alabama State ownership at Cotton Bayou, this gives Orange Beach over 300 yards of public beach in the center of our city. We believe that this development will be a destination for everyone and will make Orange Beach even more of a COASTAL seaside town. We would like to thank everyone for their support and confidence in this project, and we look forward to starting this fall with parking and a waterfront available by next spring for our residents to enjoy.
The CoastAL restaurant design is rooted in Alabama coastal architecture with its wide overhangs, wraparound covered porch, and signature tower.
Details on how the parking lot will work are still being worked out and will be shared at a later date. As part of the deal, developers will build all improvements on town property, such as paving the parking lot, lighting, construction of toilets and a lifeguard area, a promenade and passageways. in the dunes to the beach, then La Ville will take possession of the improvements.