Foley Sports Tourism Complex’s roller coaster ride toward completion is heading for a thrilling conclusion. A huge construction site—520 acres, all told—is being transformed into an all-inclusive resort for athletes and their families. Sixteen sterling fields are already in heavy use.
On a recent visit to the Alabama coastal town, one of the 21 planned rides was already standing. The skeleton of Foley Events Center, a 90,000-sq.-ft. indoor facility, was in place, and a 150-room TownePlace Suites by Marriott was taking shape. Phase one of OWA, as the entertainment and hospitality district is known, is scheduled to open this summer. Rolling Thunder, a massive roller coaster, will run through the middle of OWA.
Once the rides and event center are in place, Foley will have more than a sporting chance at drawing visitors from Pensacola, Florida, and/or Mobile, Alabama, both 45 minutes away. Even closer is Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, which, combined with Foley, sees 6 million visitors per year.
“This is definitely a regional destination,” says Kristin Hellmich, OWA’s director of marketing and public relations.