Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Thu November 17 2016

OWA to Open In 2017 in Southern Alabama

Destination & Tourism Erik Yates November 17, 2016

OWA to Open In 2017 in Southern Alabama

Images courtesy of OWA

Sports, dining, entertainment and even a theme park are in the works for a new project in Alabama, currently being fast tracked for 2017. Alabama and the Poarch Creek Tribe are working together to build a huge new entertainment district called OWA, meaning Big Water.

The new district could means big things for Alabama, as the new district is looking to become a destination hub for the entire state. OWA is already on its way to becoming the next huge tourist destination in Foley, Alabama, and it’s only the beginning. The area has had a troubled past, but with all the pieces finally falling into place, the state and the Poarch Creek Tribe hope to turn OWA into a complete vacation destination.

The project’s location and original concept were originally the brainchild of Blue Collar Comedy team, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy, and would have featured a massive RV park at its center. While that team has pulled out, the Poarch Creek Tribe has unveiled a new vision, one that could actually “git er done”, by pulling in tourists from all areas of the country.

The new plan will put the new development adjacent to the City of Foley’s state-of-the-art sports tourism complex. The complex boasts 16 outdoor fields and a 90,000-square-foot indoor sports center, which is slated to open in 2017. The new sports complex is designed to bring families in from all over the country for competitions and tournaments. This could translate to a large audience for the OWA complex as well.

The area is opening in 2017 with a 150-room hotel, recreational lake, dining and shopping district, and an amusement park. This is just phase one. In future phases, there will be an additional waterpark, more hotels, condominium complex, and luxury RV Resort. The total investment will be around $500 million.

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While there are huge plans down the road, the immediate focus is on the OWA district itself. A small southern town will “spring” up around the lake, and will include tons of dining and shopping options. The feel of the town will stay true to the small southern town roots, that has evolved over time, much like some of the quintessential towns in Alabama and Georgia. The town will be sectioned off into districts such as the Warehouse and Downtown Districts. The Amusement park will be a district all its own.

The amusement park may not be key in pleasing guests, but it will be key in attracting families who are not in town for sporting events or tournaments. The park is expected to have over 20 rides, and will be anchored by one of the longest roller coasters in the country. The range of attractions will range from family rides, to high speed thrill rides. Amusement company Zamperla has teamed up with OWA to bring the 14-acre park to life.

The park will cater to all ages and speeds, from families to thrill seekers. The flythrough video above showcases two coasters, one of which looks to be similar to Coney Island’s Thunderbolt, which is also a Zamperla coaster.

The first phase of the project is expected to open in 2017, and will create roughly 3,500 jobs when completed. The area is home to some of the most popular beaches on the Gulf Coast, which bring in roughly 6.2 million tourists annually. The new area will help to meet the needs of both the growing population of the area, and the growing tourism needs.