'Bama Bayou' gets new developer

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 6/8/18

The vacant property known as ‘Bama Bayou’ in Orange Beach got a new developer in a special-called City Council meeting.

The council authorized Mayor Tony Kennon to execute a memorandum of …

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'Bama Bayou' gets new developer

Posted

The vacant property known as ‘Bama Bayou’ in Orange Beach got a new developer in a special-called City Council meeting.

The council authorized Mayor Tony Kennon to execute a memorandum of understanding with the Presidian Group out of Texas for the provision of economic assistance to develop the property.

Kennon said the agreement was straight forward, non-obligating and the city would not be taking on any debt with the agreement.

“We are saying we in concept agreed to this type of split for this many years and going forward,” Kennon said. “This allows them to take their steps and once they get through their first hurdles, then we sit down and negotiate how do we make this happen.”

Councilman Jeff Silvers said it was the same type of agreement the city had in place when the project shut down.

Just a few short years ago, Pleasure Island was abuzz with the prospects of a “Gulf World” type entertainment center and community across the Intracoastal Waterway from The Wharf.

A promotional video from 2006 declares the “all-inclusive destination brings the charm and legacy of an old waterfront town to life.” The complex was conceived nearly 17 years ago and was initially called RiverWalk Orange Beach and was to be built on city property.

The city solicited proposals for a year-round tourist draw for the site. In March of 2010 another group of investors tried unsuccessfully to revive the project.

In 2011 city code inspectors had problems with trash and debris around the site and were close to declaring it a public nuisance. Debris was removed or moved out of sight and a fence was erected according to city directives.

The primary lender for the project, Visions Bank, said the original investors defaulted on a $21 million loan and foreclosed in 2009. Visions then bought the property for $10.3 million in the ensuing auction.

“I think everyone knows we want that property to be successful,” Kennon said. “We’re going to eliminate the eyesore. We’re using the tools that the city has to help do it without any risk to the city.”