Sports Complex, Events Center and Hotels Planned for Alabama
4 Dec, 2014
City of Foley and Blue Collar Country Ready to Establish Infrastructure
The city of Foley and the developers of Blue Collar Country are moving ahead with the first phase of development of the city’s Sports Tourism Complex, Events Center and the first of two hotels. The facilities will be located near Baldwin County 20 and the Foley Beach Express. Having confirmed the Alabama Department of Transportation’s awarding of construction for the extension of Pride Drive, a major four-lane boulevard from Ala. 59 through the complex to Baldwin County 20, the city of Foley and Blue Collar Country Destinations are proceeding with phase one of the new destination.
The first phase calls for construction of 16 multi-use sports fields, including a championship field and a 104,000 square-foot events center. The Foley Sports Tourism Complex will be a world class sports tourism destination designed to host tournaments for soccer, lacrosse and football, along with other various outdoor competitions. The city has already moved to expand the complex to a total of 16 fields based on demand from tournament organizers. One of the 16 fields will be a championship field with initial seating for 2,000 spectators.
“It is good to see council move forward with the project. It will mean a lot to the community financially. We anticipate the first phase of this public/private endeavor to total a $75 million investment in our community,” said Foley Mayor John Koniar.
“Since the city’s hiring of Don Staley as the executive director of sports for Foley, we have seen an overwhelming response from tournament organizers to host events here in Foley,” said Jeff Rouzie, Foley’s economic development director.
“Without question the expansion is exciting news, because a number of event organizers and NGB’s (National Governing Bodies) require a minimum of 16 fields. Now Foley can meet those demands and compete for larger events,” said Staley, who is already working to schedule tournaments at the facilities.
Thursday’s city council action approved a revised master development agreement with Blue Collar Destinations, LLC. This agreement authorizes previously approved cooperative districts to purchase approximately 80 acres associated with the city’s Sports Tourism Complex and Events Center.
“Thursday’s council action allows us to move forward with the purchase of the land and begin development,” said Mike Thompson, city administrator.
The 104,000 square-foot indoor multi-purpose events center includes 60,000 square feet of clear-span floor space, which can accommodate multiple basketball or volleyball courts, major cheerleading and gymnastic competitions, trade and consumer shows, concerts and conventions. The balance of the space will include areas for team rooms, lobby, storage, restrooms, concessions, offices, main stage and green rooms.
In conjunction with the city’s Sports Tourism Complex and Events Center, Blue Collar Country developers have reached an agreement to begin the first of two hotels with O’Reilly Hospitality Management. The full service Hilton Garden Inn and Convention Center, to be located adjacent to the southeast corner of the Events Center, will feature 150 rooms along with a 17,500 square-foot convention center. The hotel convention center will complement the city’s Event Center, providing A-Class meeting space for business groups, convention and trade shows, and rooms for sports tourism participants and organizers.
“O’Reilly Hospitality Management is pleased to be associated with such an incredibly dynamic development. The city’s Events Center and Sports Tourism Complex, the strong Hilton Garden Inn brand and A-class conference center managed by O’Reilly Hospitality, in combination with the retail, restaurants, rides and attractions being developed by the Blue Collar Destinations team will undoubtedly be a great success on many levels,” said Tim O’Reilly, CEO of O’Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC.
The second hotel will be adjacent to the northeast corner of the Events Center and will be connected with a plaza featuring an outdoor stage. Once complete, the two hotels will provide a total of 300 rooms, directly adjacent to the Events Center.
Architectural plans are being finalized and vertical construction is slated to begin after the first of the year. More than 150 construction jobs will be created over the fourteen-month construction period. Once open, the venues will provide over 65 permanent positions, along with numerous part-time employment opportunities during events. Portions of phase one are expected to be completed in the fall of 2015.