Bama Bayou gets development agreement

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 10/4/18

The Orange Beach City Council held a public hearing to hear citizens’ concerns over a proposed redevelopment of the incomplete Bama Bayou property.

Most concerns where traffic related, with …

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Bama Bayou gets development agreement

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The Orange Beach City Council held a public hearing to hear citizens’ concerns over a proposed redevelopment of the incomplete Bama Bayou property.

Most concerns where traffic related, with many worried about construction vehicles and ingress/ egress on the two-lane road where the property’s access points are located.

The council then voted unanimously to approve a development agreement with a private developer for the redevelopment of the abandoned and partially completed Bama Bayou. Austin, Texas-based Presidium is the private developer that has been performing due diligence on the project for the past 12 months, and its affiliate, PG Investco, LLC, entered into a Memorandum of understanding with Orange Beach on May 30, 2018.

Councilman Jerry Johnson asked about the viability of the structures currently on the property, which have been standing vacant for nearly a decade.

“The unique thing about this is that usually when you have something sitting out in the elements and withstanding hurricanes for over ten years you would be worried about the wellbeing of that,” said David Wallace, a representative of Presidium. “The good thing here is that the engineering activities that were put together is all concrete. So, every day that goes by it continues to harden.”

Wallace confirmed the group’s goal to use 95 percent of the existing structures.

Councilman Jeff Boyd abstained from the vote and has not been involved in any of the deliberations or presentations because his brother, Jimmy Boyd, has been involved in the development since 2008.

“This project has the potential to be an outstanding development along the Gulf Coast and we are excited that Presidium has stepped up to revitalize and bring life to a piece of property which has been an eyesore at the gateway to our community,” Mayor Tony Kennon said.

At the city council meeting, the developer informed the city that it proposes to acquire the entire 147-acre site for the purpose of constructing a large-scale, mixed-use development, in two or more phases, including multiple hotels, convention center, water park, aquarium, interactive marine mammal experience, edutainment attractions (such as animal rescue and rehabilitation facilities), wetland trails and education assets, as well as related infrastructure required for such attractions.

Wallace said Presidium hopes to have Phase I opened and ready by spring break of 2020, but knows setbacks may mean that gets pushed to early summer.

“People no longer just want a room to stay in,” said John Griggs, Co-CEO for Presidium. “They want an entire vacation experience including edutainment, dining, shopping and entertainment in one seamless destination. We are offering the complete package. Think of this resort as a skybox overlooking the very best the Gulf Coast has to offer.”

According to Presidium, it has assembled a world-class team of professionals, engineers, contractors, operators and designers for the entire project. These operators and co-development partners have been secured for all asset classes including the water park, aquarium, marine mammal interactive experience, hospitality, restaurants and family entertainment center. Stifel Nicholaus and Wrathell Hunt have both been engaged to oversee the underwriting and investment banking for the entire project. Joining the Presidium development team are local professionals such as Jimmy Boyd, Craig Johnson and Scott Raley.

“We have been involved with this project since the beginning, and over the years, we have seen many chapters with many emotions,” Jimmy Boyd said. “The most important chapter: however, is the one which we are about to write. We are honored and excited to see this through to completion.”

About the Development

Just off the Foley Beach Expressway on roughly 147-acres, the South’s premier resort destination will soon be back under construction. Bama Bayou, a $300 million dollar plus project located on the Intracoastal Waterway, recreates the charm and legacy of an old coastal village, blending the historical past with every resort amenity imaginable. Every aspect of Bama Bayou will transport visitors to another time - a more laid-back lifestyle - a simpler time. This project will be the epitome of that Alabama Gulf Coast lifestyle offering memorable family vacation experiences.

Upon completion, the development is expected to offer up to 1,100 hospitality units, a water experience park that is expected to rank among the top water parks in North America, an aquarium and marine mammal experience of a lifetime and the largest private convention center in the area.

Upon completion, guests arriving to Bama Bayou will park once and then enjoy a wide range of unique experiences all from within the resort boundaries and all conveniently connected by a trolley system.

The Bama Bayou Resort and Convention Center is expected to feature 453 units and an approximately 68,000 square foot convention center - the largest private meeting facility on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Planned amenities include: valet parking, concierge services, a world-class spa, fitness center, pool and much more.

The Marina Village, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, is expected to include eclectic shops, colorful waterside cafes and restaurants featuring Southern specialties and fresh seafood. Commitments from local favorites include two restaurant and bar venues overlooking the intracoastal and marina waterways. The Amphitheatre in the heart of Marina Village will provide a variety of nightlife and entertainment opportunities. From the Marina, visitors will be able to enjoy various water activities including fishing expeditions and waterway cruises.

The Marina Village Resort includes two condominium developments overlooking the snorkel lagoon and marina. This 220-unit resort features executive meeting space, access to the spa, fitness center, golf course, resort pool, concierge services, snorkel lagoon and shuttles to and from the beach.

Visitors will experience the Scenic Wetlands of the Gulf Coast as they stroll through the planned 35-acre Nature Walk. This setting is filled with migratory and native birds, butterflies, turtles and indigenous flowers and trees. Visit the Orange Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation exhibit for some of the best edutainment interactivity offered on the Gulf Coast.

Explore the tropical paradise at Gulf World Marine Park where lush landscaping, wooden boardwalks, rocks and waterfalls are the background for this renowned sea life experience. Take a journey around the world and see exotic and marine animals in their natural habitats. Watch live performance with dolphins, sea lions and tropical birds. For the ultimate adventure, swim with dolphins, sea lions and harbor seals!  Stay in the Gulf World’s Paradise Resort which will feature 24 units overlooking the Gulf World Marine Park. Upon completion, this will be the only Resort in the country located inside a marine park.

Swim in the Bama Bayou Snorkeling Lagoon and explore the wonders of a tropical paradise where edutainment meets the water. Swim and snorkel with thousands of tropical fish through this stunning coral reef habitat. Surprises abound as families can seek discoveries along the water’s edge or play hide-and-seek with thousands of beautiful fish, from small colorful angelfish to velvety rays. Further out in the reef, stunning habitats create the feeling of swimming right alongside sharp-toothed reef sharks. You can even take paths and bridges to the reef’s islands and hidden grottos and cabanas as they delve into the reef from above, around and below.

Experience the thrill of the Bama Beach Water Park, which is expected to rank among the top water parks in the nation, and will combine the beauty of local waterways and wetlands with the adventurous spirit of world-class water slides, a massive wave pool and an enormous lazy river. In addition to the traditional wave pool and water slides (Bama Beach will feature both serpentine and speed slides), there are a number of other elements the guest will find to enjoy. These include “activity pools,” some limited to adults only and some limited to children only, a large family raft ride and a lazy river. Additionally, the water park will incorporate modern, state-of-the-art audio and visual effects into certain water slides to enhance the rider experience. The lazy river will serve as both a ride, as well as a means of transportation from one attraction to another, and will have lush landscaping and trees surrounding it and several opportunities for guests to enter and exit when they choose.