Big changes coming to West Beach Boulevard

By Melanie LeCroy
Posted 11/20/19

If you haven’t driven down to Gulf Place Town Green in the last few weeks, you might be surprised to find a building missing. Shortly after the Hangout Oyster Cook-Off, the Surf Style located …

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Big changes coming to West Beach Boulevard

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If you haven’t driven down to Gulf Place Town Green in the last few weeks, you might be surprised to find a building missing. Shortly after the Hangout Oyster Cook-Off, the Surf Style located at 101 West Beach Boulevard, was torn down.

Surf Style has obtained approval for a new six-story building with 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the first floor, 12 condominium units on floors two through four and amenities on floors five and six. A 76-space parking lot for this project will be located across Beach Boulevard at 102 Gulf Shores Parkway.

The development embraces the pedestrian friendly design philosophy encouraged by the Envision Gulf Shores regulations by being located directly adjacent to the public streets and public beach area and shifts the priority from the vehicle to the pedestrian.

The project was initially approved December, 2018, but during the regular council meeting Oct. 28, Director of Planning & Community Development Lee Jones presented a request from the developer.

“This is a request for council authorization to permit the mayor and city clerk to work with applicant and developer of this project to execute a temporary construction easement agreement as well as a stormwater management maintenance agreement. The underground utility easement is added to that portion because the stormwater maintenance area is adjacent to the property and in that area are two transformers. There may be a need to work out a utility easement underground among those two transformers.”

The construction staging area will be adjacent to the proposed Surf Style mixed use building location in the Gulf Place Town Green area next to the site. A portion of the sidewalk on Beach Boulevard will be closed during construction and pedestrians will be rerouted along the crosswalk on the northside of beach Boulevard and then around the existing sidewalks. The park playground will not be affected. Only one sidewalk within Gulf Place Town Green will be affected otherwise all the pedestrian circulation will be open within the park.

Stormwater will be collected from the roof and be dealt with underground on city property adjacent to the Surf Style property.

“Is there any other precedent in the city of a sites stormwater management being on public property?” one citizen in the chamber asked.

“I don’t know of any at this point but I do know that with storm drainage issues like they are, any chance we have to solve a drainage issue with a partner we will certainly be interested in doing that,” Mayor Robert Craft said.

Councilman Philip Harris responded, “The walking district improvement will do just that, collect stormwater in public right of way in order to help better manage that and to help free up land for redevelopment in that walking district. I see this as a similar action as we are looking to store more stormwater in public right of way.”

Public Works Director Mark Acreman said, “We have done this before on a lot larger scale at the sports plex. We installed a regional stormwater system on public property that not only handles the sports plex run off but all the runoff in the region.”

The staff recommended approval with conditions. One condition being that any damage to city property will be restored to like new condition and shall be executed before certificate of occupancy.

The council and mayor approved the temporary construction easement agreement as well as the stormwater management maintenance agreement.