FOLEY – Officials at the City of Foley have been hard at work in recent years to improve the city’s downtown area, from the addition of the pedestrian bridge over Highway 59 to joining Main Street Alabama. A big factor in the redevelopment is to bring new businesses to the area, filling vacant buildings and creating jobs. One of the most sought-after locations is the building on the corner of Alston Street and Laurel Avenue, the old Cactus Café/Historic Foley Bakery Building.
The building has finally been sold, leaving the hands of Foley officials and being purchased by a local group called the Azalea Fund.
“We aren’t ready to reveal our plans yet, but we are so excited to be catalyzing redevelopment in historic downtown,” said Courtney Brett of Azalea Fund.
The building sold for $45,000, though the Azalea Fund states in their letter of intent to the city that they plan to put a lot more into the redevelopment of the property.
“We have a vision and plan for the economic and cultural renaissance of Historic Downtown Foley, which includes preserving and protecting the historic Bakery Building and installing businesses that will contribute to job creation, foot traffic, and destination appeal for locals and tourists,” Azalea Fund officials stated in the letter.
They go on to include that they hope to begin a series of projects within a two-block radius of the Cactus Café building in order to bring about the revitalization of the downtown area. As to the actual Cactus Café, the Azalea Fund mentioned their preferred tenants for the ground floor to be either a small local grocery store with an integrated café or a full-service restaurant with an integrated artist gallery.
As to the upper floor of the building, they would prefer an open loft co-work space for professionals and non-profit organizations.
“As the first project in a series, initial rent rates at the Bakery Building must be low enough to attract the tenants who will bring energy and vitality to downtown,” officials stated in the letter. “We plan to achieve this ambitious mission through restricted personal profits, federal incentives programs, and low property acquisition costs.”
The Azalea Fund is proposing a total investment of between one million dollars and one million two hundred thousand dollars into the Cactus Café/Bakery Building, which will be the first in an estimated five million dollars total investment into downtown Foley. They hope to realize their plan within the next few years with the involvement of strategic partners.
“I think this is really good, I’m excited about this group looking at our downtown,” said councilman Ralph Hellmich. “With all the other things going on with this area, a lot of people have been asking about the Cactus Café building, and it took a while to get there but I think we’ve got a good project now. I’m looking forward to these folks making that a productive building in downtown Foley.”