BY JOHN MULLEN
Planning Commissioner Ralph Moore listened to some complicated discussions during a busy planning meeting in Orange Beach and decided maybe it was time for a little levity.
“I’ve just got one silly little question,” Moore said to John Brett of Brett Robinson developers. “When did y’all decide you were going to name every building ‘Phoenix’?”
After the laughter subsided, Brett being among those amused, said he hears that question a lot.
“I’ve been asked that question more than you can imagine,” Brett said. “A long time ago we talked about renaming to totally different names but this is more for a branding deal. You can go to different parts of the Southeast or walk through an airport, someone’s heard of the Phoenix.”
About 18 of the 20 Brett Robinson beachfront and back-bay projects built since 1984 carry the Phoenix name. Brett said the company has built and sold nearly 3,000 condo units during that time.
Another one is underway and yet another is now on the drawing board, both in Orange Beach.
Phoenix Orange Beach II (pictured above) received a 9-0 favorable recommendation from the planning commission on July 10 and will now be presented in a public hearing before the Orange Beach City Council, likely at the Aug. 15 meeting.
The council has the final say on whether or not the project moves forward. It will be located on the Gulf between Tidewater Condominiums and the recently renovated DoubleTree by Hilton Island House Hotel.
This $70 million project will add 120 units to the more than 17,000 vacation condos, hotel rooms and beach houses in southern Baldwin County. Orange Beach alone has 8,466 of the 14,567 condos, with Gulf Shores having 4,519 and Fort Morgan 1,582.
There are a total of 2,473 hotel rooms in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and none in Fort Morgan.
Prices for the units in Phoenix Orange Beach II are $785,000 for four bedrooms, $610,000 for three bedrooms and $530,000 for two bedrooms.
“We have deposits on nearly half of them,” Brett said. “We’re still working with the city like we do on every other building, but the response has been overwhelming.”
This is the third new project started by Brett Robinson since ground was broken on Phoenix Gulf Shores in 2014. The 80-unit complex opened on July 6 and was the first building start for the iconic developer since the massive Phoenix West II was begun in 2007.
Currently underway west of the Hampton Inn is Phoenix Orange Beach I, which will add 114 units to the vacation inventory.
There are three other beachfront condominiums approved by the cities, two more in Orange Beach and one in Gulf Shores. Those are the 78-unit Abaco in Gulf Shores and the 166-unit Transcendence and 160-unit Caribe on the Beach in Orange Beach. All three are being actively marketed.
Additionally, Gulf Shores Planning Director Andy Bauer said, there is a 96-room Comfort Inn and Suites under construction on the north side of East Beach Boulevard. And in the beach district there are six “beach cottage” developments, which will add 58 vacation rental houses.
Caribe on the Beach
Caribe on the Beach from developers Larry Wireman and Nathan Cox would be on the east side of Summer Chase and next to the Cotton Bayou Beach Access. It is planned be 27 stories tall and have 160 units. The five- and three-bedroom units range in price from $1.39 million to $820,050, according to caribeonthebeach.com.
The Gulf Coast Opportunity Fund LLC received site plan approval for a 27-story Transcendence condominium with 166 units. The five- and three-bedroom units range in price from $1.2 million to $2.6 million, according to transcendence.com. Cox is also involved in this project. It will be directly east of the Hampton Inn next to a parcel where the same developer received approval for Grace and Ascension, two towers proposed near the intersection of Alabama 161 and Alabama 182. Both would top 35 stories and comprise 277 high-end condo units, but developers are not yet marketing these properties.
Abaco is a 78-unit condominium project about a mile from the Hangout on West Beach in Gulf Shores. Prices range from $755,000 to $805,000 and floor plans include 2,120- or 2,080-square-foot layouts with three bedrooms, according to the project’s website. Two 4,300-square-feet penthouses are also included in the project. A pool oasis and lazy river are in the plans.