The owners of the Surf Style building at the southwest corner of the main intersection in Gulf Shores — State Routes 59 and 182 — are finally moving ahead with plans to demolish it and replace it with a six-story, mixed-use building.
A site plan was approved in December 2018 for the project and a demolition sale was announced for the store, but the plans were delayed. Surf Style stores are owned in part by the same owners of Hangout Hospitality, which operates three restaurants in Gulf Shores and one in Orange Beach. The local face of the ownership is Shaul Zislin, founder and managing partner of Hangout Hospitality and founder, CEO and managing partner of Surf Style Retail.
At a recent City Council meeting, Gulf Shores OK’d an agreement to allow for an easement on city property west of the location for stormwater management. Current plans call for the use of a cistern to collect the water, which will then be used for irrigation of grass and landscaping at the city’s Gulf Place public beach.
The council also approved using part of Gulf Place, a public access to the beach directly west of the site, as a laydown yard for the demolition and construction process.
Developers asked for and received a zoning variance to have zero setback lot lines so the entire property can be used for the new building. Plans call for about 10,000 square feet on the first floor to house the retail section, a dozen condos on the second, third and fourth floors and amenities on the top two floors. Those could include a rooftop pool and garden as well as meeting spaces.
Permission was also granted to have offsite parking across the street, east of a second Surf Style store that sits at the northeast corner of that intersection. This lot has in the past been used for one of the stages for the Hangout Music Fest.
“There will be no parking on their site because they are basically developing their entire piece of property they own, which is why the offsite parking being built across the street is important and required to make this project work,” Mayor Robert Craft said.
The city is hoping to develop the beach district into a popular pedestrian area and is planning on making improvements throughout the area for handling stormwater runoff. This will encourage further growth in the area because developers will be able to tie into the city’s drainage system rather than having to include water retention areas in site plans.
Additionally, the new Surf Style building will have flood-proof technology, meaning it can be built at ground level and not have to follow floodplain height requirements. Hangout Hospitality’s Sunliner Diner, located two blocks north of the intersection, was also built as a flood-proof building.
“It is a great addition to our community and we have encouraged this to go forward,” Craft said. “This gives us the opportunity to work together with the final design of this and what we want to collectively accomplish with getting this thing rebuilt and getting our street drainage improved.”
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