The Poarch Band of Creek Indians have unveiled detailed plans for OWA, a $500 million tourist destination currently under construction on 520 acres at the intersection of The Foley Beach Express and County Rd. 20 in Foley, nine miles north of Orange Beach.
A 14-acre lake will be at the center of the unique project that features a themed amusement park that has been described as a hybrid of Six Flags theme park and Disney World, a 150-room Marriott Town Place Suites hotel, and 44,000 feet of retail space set to open next summer.
Owa’s design celebrates its rural roots. The complex will have the feel of a small Southern town that evolves through time with distinct districts such as the Warehouse District, Downtown District, and Amusement Park.
Phase One, which includes the 150-room hotel, retail and dining spaces, amusement park and lake, will open next summer.
Future plans call for a waterpark, additional hotels, a condominium complex and a resort level RV park. When complete, total investment in the development will top $500 million, and the project will generate close to 3,500 jobs (both direct and indirect) and boost tourist spending in South Alabama by 7 percent. That increase is expected to increase Baldwin County’s economic output by close to $250 million.
The development is adjacent to the City of Foley’s $40 million sports tourism complex which features 16 state-of-the-art outdoor fields and a 90,000 square foot indoor events center that is slated to open in the summer of 2017.
The two projects will provide a seamless experience for families who travel to the area specifically for tournaments.
“For every visitor, Owa will provide a top-notch experience,” said Tim Martin, President of Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority. “It is an added benefit that families who come to Foley for sporting events will also have all of Owa’s offerings available to them.”
Owa is expected to bring in an additional 1 million visitors to South Baldwin County annually.
“We are happy to offer visitors to our area a one stop, family-friendly destination that is near the beach but will provide another option, for not only overnight visitors, but those looking for a day trip,” said Foley Mayor John Koniar.
Description: A $500 million world class family destination located on 520 acres at the intersection of the Foley Beach Express and County Road 20 in Foley.
Why that name? Owa means “big water” in the Muscogee Creek language. Owa “big water” refers to the 14-acre lake at the center of the project.
Why That Location? OWA is adjacent to the City of Foley’s Sports Complex ($40 million investment) that is already hosting huge events on its 16 state-of-the-art outdoor sports fields. The city’s 90,000 square foot indoor events center is set to open this summer.
What you’ll see by next summer: Phase One and Phase Two are now under construction. Within eight months, The 150-room Marriott Towne Place Suites Hotel and 44,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space will be open.
Amusement Park: Also set for completion this summer is a 14-acre themed amusement park featuring 20 rides from large scale roller coasters to kiddie rides and a major roller coaster. A 300 seat outdoor amphitheater will sit on an island in the middle of the development’s 14-acre lake that will feature fountain shows and boat rentals.
In the next five years: The entire build out will take five years. Future phases include a luxury RV resort, four hotels (one will offer conference space), a resort level condominium and an outdoor waterpark.
Economic Impact: As of Nov. 1, the developers have hired 34 contractors and provided jobs to 556 citizens. Employment, (both direct and indirect) will increase to 3,462 and $64 million in payroll when the build out is complete.
About the Poarch Band of Creek Indians…
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians are descendants of a segment of the original Creek Nation which once covered almost all of Alabama and Georgia. Members of the Tribe have lived together for almost 200 years in and around their reservation in Poarch, Alabama.
The only federally recognized Indian Tribe in Alabama, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is as a sovereign nation with its own system of government and bylaws. Poarch Enterprises employ 3,500 Alabama residents at its three Wind Creek Hospitality resorts (Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Atmore, Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka and Wind Creek Montgomery). Poarch Enterprises also operate Muskogee Technology and the Muskogee Inn in Atmore.