West Beach’s Embassy Suites Hotel is finally going vertical
The Embassy Suites hotel, first announced in June of 2018, is finally making vertical progress.
The development team held a recent official groundbreaking ceremony for the full-service resort overlooking the Gulf at Gulf Shores Public Beach, just west of Hwy. 59.
The eight-story property will have 257 all-suite beachfront guestrooms; a lobby bar and restaurant; a rooftop amenity terrace with a bar and grille, pool deck and an outdoor entertainment venue; 13,620 square feet of enclosed meeting space, a 7,800-square-foot ballroom, a three-story parking garage and 7,618 square feet of leasable retail space that will include a Starbucks. The total cost of the mixed-use project will be about $85 million.
“This is the type of transformative project we envisioned for our beach area when we adopted Vision 2025,” said Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft at the ground breaking.
“Having a high-end, full-service hotel with significant conference space in the heart of our beach district will boost our shoulder seasons, support local businesses year-round, and be a catalyst for higher quality redevelopment in the area,” he added.
West First Street between West Beach Blvd. and West First Ave. will be closed for approximately 24 months during the course of construction to provide a laydown area and allow a safe corridor to the neighboring site for storage of materials.
Gulf Shores owns the lot where the hotel is being built and advertised for proposals for a hotel on the site beginning in 2015. After extending the deadline to commence at least four times, the city and developes are both ready to move forward.
Gulf Shores offered a tax incentive to the developers to recoup money from the extra cost of including the meeting space in the original design. The city will give Embassy Suites a tax rebate of 42 percent during the first three years of operation and 35 percent every year following until $6.5 million is reached, the basic cost of including the meeting space in the plan.
Changes from the original plan included lowering the building from 10 stories to eight and making the outside pool area originally planned for the roof from about 23,000 square feet down to 10,000 square feet. Scaling that back allowed for an increase in the total rooms from 229 to 254.
In May of 2019, it was announced that the agreed-upon start date was July 1. It was subsequently changed to Jan. 1 with an eye on opening on March 1 of 2022. On Dec. 2, 2019, the council voted again for a delay with the developers eyeing a July 2020 start date.