$75 Million First Phase of Foley Sports Tourism Complex, Blue Collar Country Project to Begin

FOLEY, Alabama -- After over a six-month delay and years of planning, the city announced Friday that the first phase of the Foley Sports Tourism Complex and Blue Collar Country entertainment project -- a combined $75 million investment -- is moving forward.

The city-funded $27 million sport tourism project will feature 16 multi-use athletic fields, including a championship field, and a 104,000-square-foot events center. The city is issuing bonds to cover its portion of the project.

The Blue Collar developers are committed to building two hotels next to the events center at a cost over $47 million with the first being a full-service Hilton Garden Inn and Convention Center.

Friday's announcement was triggered by the Alabama Department of Transportation's awarding of a $10 million road project that will extend Pride Drive east from Alabama 59 through the complex to Baldwin County 20. The road will serve as the development's main thoroughfare. The city was awarded a federal highway grant in early 2013 that will cover 80 percent of the cost.

Since April, 180 acres of the over 500-acre site were all cleared by Blue Collar and although the site and future roadway were prepped, the highway department did not bid the project out till September.

Another key piece of the project's launch was a Foley City Council vote on Thursday authorizing two city cooperative districts to purchase roughly 89 acres from Blue Collar Destinations LLC for $2,597,000 as part of a revised master development agreement. The decision was a shift from a previous plan for the city to lease the property with an option to buy.

The city's purchase leaves the Blue Collar development with about 416 acres, according to the agreement.
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Source: Alabama Media Group