Perdido Dunes Tower breaks ground, finally

The long-awaited groundbreaking for Perdido Dunes Tower took place Nov. 2.
The long-awaited groundbreaking for Perdido Dunes Tower took place Nov. 2.
Melanie LeCroy/Staff Photo

After years of legal battles Perdido Dunes Tower, a 20-unit low density condo development, finally broke ground Nov. 2. The 12-floor condo tower site sits on the beach between Phoenix VIII and Phoenix East and south of the Perdido Dunes townhouses.

The original horseshoe-shaped, eight-condo structure built in 1983 was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. According to Laura Ward, one of the original owners and manager of the Perdido Dunes Tower, a lack of adequate insurance coverage on the structure left owners with the prospect of having to pay to rebuild.

“We were underinsured and each unit would have had to pay $70,000 to $80,000 to rebuild the eight units with the international building code in place at that time which would be a steel and concrete structure,” Laura Ward, one of the last two remaining owners of the original eight, said. “There are three entities involved and only two of the original eight are involved,” Ward said.

Soon after Ivan, the group began planning to rebuild and it looked like they were ready to move forward at the end of 2007 but the recession of 2008, more storms and lawsuits put the project on hold until now.

The 12-story tower will include 10 floors with two four-bedroom, three bath units per floor. Each unit will have 1,900 square feet of living space and wraparound balconies. The top floor will house building amenities that include a multimedia all purpose room ideal for corporate meetings, receptions and other meeting purposes, exercise room and sauna. A pool and dune walkover and 20 parking spaces will also be included in the development. Only five units remain and the current asking price is $1.195 million. The general contractor on the project is General Contractor Stallings and Sons, Inc.

The groundbreaking was well attended by members of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach city councils, members of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber, community members and owners.

Ward thanked everyone for attending and her partners, Barbara Garland, Joey Lambeth, Melinda Newell and Joe Ward. Orange Beach City councilman Jerry Johnson was asked to say a few words on behalf of Orange Beach.

“We are very excited and good things happen to good people. It has been a long journey and the city is very excited about it. We applaud you and thank you for your endurance to get this done,” Johnson said.

Ward then asked City of Orange Beach building official Lannie Smith to speak. Smith has been with this project since the day after Hurricane Ivan when he had to condemn the original structure.

“It’s not always been hugs and kisses because I was here in 2004 standing right back here when I condemned the old building. We have come a long way since then. I have gotten to know Dr. Ward and those involved in the process and I am grateful for that because they are great people. This will probably be the most memorable project of my career and I am looking forward to seeing it through till the end,” Smith said.

Ward has been very hands on with this project and joked that her husband Joe often reminds her not to bother the contractors too much. She also commented this project has been her full-time job since 2005 and she is looking forward to seeing construction progress.

“We have a feeling we will be finished before the year is over next year in 2021,” Ward said.