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Orange Beach 'Bama Bayou' eyesore draws developer’s interest for project

(WPMI)

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WPMI) - A well-known eyesore in Orange Beach, once the site of a proposed entertainment complex, could have new life as an economic development.

Orange Beach city leaders said a developer has plans to invest in the property, formally known as Bama Bayou, which has sat unfinished for nearly a decade.

Unfinished shells of buildings are all that remains of the once-promising, ambitious project Bama Bayou.

It was once intended to be the foundation for a $300 million "Gulf World" style, entertainment and community center located on the north side of the Intracoastal Waterway, across from the Wharf.

"This is an eyesore that's been here almost 10 years. It's the entrance to Orange Beach but more importantly, it's the gateway to Alabama's beaches. And it just doesn't give a good impression," said Kennon.

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon said there's now hope it will be revitalized by the developer Investco LLC, which is interested in purchasing the property for a new project.

"It's my understanding it will not be called Bama Bayou anymore. They may repurpose some of the buildings,” Kennon said.

"The city is not putting a dime toward this. It's simply a matter of if it's successful, and they generate taxes, they get to keep a portion. If it's not, it's all on them.”

The long-developed Bama Bayou fell apart in 2009 when the original investor defaulted on a loan. It happened after Kennon said the business was hit by the economic recession.

"It’s not been the image we wanted when people came into Orange Beach but from a Wharf standpoint, we'd be very excited to get this developed," said Jim Cox, spokesperson for the Wharf.

Cox said he believes the Wharf's recent success could help the new project and vice versa.

"To interact and have our folks come over here and to have people visiting this establishment come and see us at the Wharf. There would be great synergy possibilites just across a beautiful piece of water," said Cox.

City leaders said the developer would need to hire an expert to see if the existing buildings on the property are salvageable.

As for the developer's actual plans, NBC 15 News is told they’re confidential, but city leaders said they hope to get more information and get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

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