(Published on - 3/2/2017 9:41:41 PM)
If you haven’t been to the Alabama Gulf Coast in a while (even a few months), you'll be surprised by all the changes since your last visit! It seems every time I drive through Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, something new appears. And, right up the road in Foley, things are booming. Everywhere you look, long-time empty commercial and residential lots are giving way to new businesses and homes. The area continues to welcome a record number of visitors, many of whom are jumping into the local real estate market. Here are just some of the highlights:
The City of Gulf Shores is not wasting any time! Workers continue to pour a new 8-foot wide sidewalk along Highway 59 from the beach north to the Intracoastal Waterway. In conjunction with the new sidewalk, phase one of a new pedestrian bridge on the east side of Highway 59 near Bayou Village (across the street from The Original Oyster House) is scheduled to open this summer. All of these upgrades are part of Gulf Shore’s master plan to provide a safer and more pleasant walking and bicycling environment.
Along the beach, the city’s $15 million Gulf Place revitalization project (above) is well underway just west of the 59 and Beach Boulevard intersection. As part of the first phase to be completed by May 1, new beachfront boardwalks, parking and landscaping are now visible. Long-known as the Gulf Beach District, this revitalized area will provide ample green-space for families to enjoy the city’s biggest asset! Visit gulfshoresal.gov for more information.
As a sure sign of housing demand, Gulf Shores just approved a site plan for Marbella (or “beautiful sea”), a three-story, 96 unit apartment complex at 1901 E. 1st. Street. The project will include a pool and clubhouse and will be located behind Uptown Plaza on E. 20th Avenue. For you investors, rental property is needed!
It’s impossible to miss the Gulf State Park restoration project on the beach as you head east toward Orange Beach. Expected to be completed in 2018, The Lodge at Gulf State Park (above) will replace the lodge destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The lodge is part of a 20-year franchise agreement with Hilton Hotels and will include a conference center, education center, interpretive center, five miles of new trails and dune restoration. A pedestrian bridge over the beach road connecting the north side of our beautiful state park to the planned interpretive center just west of the existing Saltwater Pavilion is also in the works. Visit mygulfstatepark.com for more information.
As you head into Orange Beach, you’ll see quite a bit of activity, including road upgrades at the corner of Beach Boulevard and Highway 161 to improve traffic flow. At that intersection, two luxury condo developments (the tallest along the Gulf Coast!) with 600 feet of beach frontage are now in the pre-construction phase (above). The 36-story Ascension will have four- and five-bedroom units while the 35-story Grace will have three-and four bedroom unit. In total, 278 units will be available for purchase. Interested? Give me a call!
Not to be overlooked, the soon-to-open, 520-acre mega entertainment district OWA (above) on the Foley Beach Expressway is fueling lots of excitement and anticipation. As part of phase one, an amusement park will open this summer with 21 rides, a hotel and retail shops. The second phase will have additional hotels, a waterpark, condos and an RV park, and more. Viewed as an affordable alternative to Disney or Universal Studies, the $500 million OWA (or “big water”) venue will generate approximately 3,500 construction and onsite jobs (think potential homeowners and renters) and millions in tax revenue.
Last year, I encouraged my clients to “Catch the Wave” in real estate. Tight inventory helped sellers move their homes while rising prices, low interest rates and readily-available mortgage loans meant buyers had to act quickly. 2017 is no different.
Wikipedia defines a wave as an “oscillation accompanied by a transfer of energy.” Well, the real estate wave continues to build, and the positive energy moving through the local economy shows few signs of ebbing. Simply put, people want to live or have a second home here. If you want to sell, buy or invest in real estate to take advantage of this energy, now is the time.
Come, feel the energy in 2017!
Photos courtesy of City of Gulf Shores, Gulf State Park, GCOF & OWA.