A company owned by Flora-Bama co-owners John McInnis and Cameron Price is considering buying a large beachfront lot in Orange Beach at the intersection of Orange Beach Blvd. (S.R. 161) and Perdido Beach Blvd. (the beach road).
Plans could include a family-friendly beachfront restaurant, a large green space, and Orange Beach resident parking. O.B. City Council rescheduled a public hearing for the project on Dec. 15.
“We do have a contract to purchase that property owned by Gulf Coast Opportunity Fund,” McInnis said. “It’s approximately 830 feet on the beach. Our goal is to possibly build a restaurant, greenspace, and a condo. We have had a very preliminary discussion with the city about incorporating some type of city resident parking/beach access and significantly decreasing or eliminating condos entirely if we can find a way to make it work. The property is currently entitled for hundreds of condos or hotel rooms but our goal is to significantly reduce what is built on that property. It is the viewing corridor for the public when they hit the beach road from 161, so we would love to see that property remain mostly open and available for the public’s use.”
Nothing was concrete as of Oct. 26 but McInnis said he is seriously considering a restaurant on the spot just east of the Hampton Inn.
“If a restaurant does go there it would be completely family-friendly, open air,” he said. “It would be something totally different and unique for Orange Beach. There are no guarantees this happens but we are working on it.”
The property was previously given city approval to build two massive towers on the parcel, Grace and Ascension. Another tower called Transcendence was also approved on the lot east of the parcel McInnis is considering both owned by the Gulf Coast Opportunity Fund.
Grace and Ascension would have both topped 35 stories and added 277 vacation rental units and Transcendence would have added 166. Now on the Transcendence site the Bluffs of Orange Beach is underway with plans calling for a 10-lot single family dwelling subdivision.
McInnis said even though condos may eventually be part of the plan it won’t be anywhere near the 277 approved in 2017.
“While most of us that live here believe you should be legally entitled to do what you want with your property, I don’t think anybody’s going to be upset at losing 100s of condos and providing space for the residents or the public,” McInnis said. “This is probably the highest-zoned density property left in the city of Orange Beach.”