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$500M Bon Secour hits selling stage

from Birmingham Business Journal:
Friday, July 29, 2005
Birmingham Business Journal - by Kaija Wilkinson Staff

Because it brings together Alabama contractors and developers, building Bon Secour Village near Gulf Shores reminds developer Clint Guthrie of an old-timey barn raising. The 985-acre luxury community couldn't be more different from a barn, though.

With an estimated price tag of $500 million-plus, Bon Secour hit a milestone this month when 50 condominium units and 50 house lots went on sale.

Ground has been broken on the roads, and a sales center and houses will take shape in the next few months.

On Thursday evening, developers Guthrie, Rick Skelton (an Alabama native who now lives in Atlanta), Josh Canady and Eddie Canady were expected to formally unveil their plans at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

The developers also announced that any Realtor may submit an offer, and those submitting the most offers that result in sales will earn handsome commissions of $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000.

Bon Secour's first phase consists of three mixed-use French Quarter style buildings and 100 lots covering three blocks surrounding a town square that has an amphitheater. This phase represents more than $100 million of work and should be wrapped up within 18 months, says Eddie Canady of Midnight Properties LLC in Cullman.

Based on the New Urbanism concept followed by Mt. Laurel and Seaside, Fla., Bon Secour will have houses, condos, stores, a marina, a hotel and a conference center. Developers recently scrapped plans for a golf course because they felt the land could be put to better use for parks, pools, tennis courts and, on its northern edge, man-made lakes.
Billion-dollar impact

Canady calls the $500 million figure conservative. "When you think about the total amount people will spend on homes, besides our money, the total economic impact of the thing will likely be well over a billion dollars."

Doing business as Bon Secour Village LLC, the developers began in spring 2003 assembling the prime acreage east of the U.S. Highway 59 bridge that spans the Intracoastal Waterway leading to Gulf Shores. They made it a point to hire as many Alabama companies as possible, including Brasfield and Gorrie LLC as general contractor and Jenkins Brick Co. of Montgomery.

Besides renowned Miami developer Andres Duany of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., they tapped John O. Freeman, the local builder who oversaw residential development at Mt. Laurel, to do the same for Bon Secour. DPZ has designed more than 100 communities, including Seaside and Mt. Laurel.

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July 29, 2005 Newspaper Report on Sales.



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