Tom Thumb is building a new store with carwash and restaurant at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama.

By John Mullen

December 13, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL – (OBA®) – There’s nothing at the corner of Wharf Parkway East and Canal Road but that’s going to change in the near future.

Orange Beach approved a change to the planned unit development at the complex to give the go-ahead for a new Tom Thumb to be built in the northeast corner of that intersection. It was the first reading of the ordinance change but the council waived off a second public hearing by suspending the rules and unanimously voting in the store. The vote also requires the developers to give the outside of the building a more coastal look.

Mayor Tony Kennon of Orange Beach, Alabama. “It’s going to have a different façade on it so it’s going to have a little more upscale look,” Project Engineer Doug Bailey of Goodwyn Mills Cawood said. “Inside it’s also going to be more of an upscale market side than your conventional run-of-the-mill Tom Thumb.”

Besides a convenience store and gas pumps, the new complex will also have a carwash and an attached fast food restaurant.

“We don’t even know what fast-food restaurant is going in there yet,” Bailey said. “But it will be a fast food restaurant that’s in the building that co-branded like you see in a lot of them. It will have a drive-thru and some interior seating. Like you see the Arby’s up at Love’s or the Burger King up at the Circle K in Loxley and that kind of thing.”

Mayor Tony Kennon is not a big fan of fast food outlets but believes the store will be an asset to visitors headed out of town after a vacation.

“I try not to get into what people do with there businesses if they meet zoning requirements,” Kennon said. “We have such great locally owned restaurants I hate to see fast food come in here and be a competitor. To me. it just reduces the experience of our community. It’s just a personal preference but if they want to build a fast food in that Tom Thumb and they meet the zoning requirements then they have a right to do it.”

The plan got unanimous approval from the planning commission before coming before the council for the final vote. Other requirements were placed on the look of the store and grounds at the planning commission level.

“In the PUD modification we had them straighten the lighting plan, landscape plan and all that,” Bailey said. “The lighting and the landscape are going to similar to what you see elsewhere in The Wharf so it ties together. The Wharf has control architecturally also so they have reviewed and approved it as well.”

Developers will also have to build a sidewalk along Canal Road where the store fronts the road.

“ They are going to help us build a sidewalk there on Canal Road and we need the ability to get fuel on the way out of town,” Kennon said. “It’s a good tax resource for us.”

The project will have a full-movement driveway on Wharf Parkway East and a right-in, right-out driveway on Canal Road.

During the regular meeting, the council:

  • Approved a resolution awarding the proposal for the Orange Beach High School/Middle School bell.
  • Approved a liquor license for the Angry Crab Shack going into the new retail space recently built west of Publix.
  • Approved a resolution declaring the "Severe Weather Preparedness" sales tax holiday Feb. 21-23.
  • Approved a resolution authorizing the purchase of a bucket truck for the Street Department in the amount of $153,030.
  • Approved a resolution authorizing the purchase of a dump truck for the Street Department in the amount of $124,500.
  • Approved a resolution establishing new fees for the Orange Beach Golf Center. Resident membership is unchanged at $125 a year but nonresident memberships go up $100 to $275 and a three-month membership goes from $125 to $250.
  • Approved a resolution authorizing transactions relating to The Wharf Development.
  • Approved a resolution appropriating $15,000 to the Orange Beach Education Foundation.
  • Approved a resolution appropriating funds to the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber for the purpose of supporting an office at The Wharf. Orange Beach will provide $1,000 a month for two years and $35,000 in money and in-kind services to build out the office space.
  • Approved a resolution amending the employee pay plan/job listing.
  • Held a public hearing on the final planned unit development for Cotton Bayou Cottage and then OK’d the plan to put 34 cottage lots on the north side of Perdido Beach Boulevard across from Admiral Quarters Condominium.

During the work session, the council discussed:

  • A resolution authorizing the purchase of a pickup truck for the Landscape Department for $30,876.75.
  • A resolution authorizing payment of up to $3,000 to the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber for the Annual Electronic Recycling and Paper Shred Event.
  • A resolution authorizing execution of a professional services agreement with Socialize Your Bizness, Inc., for social media consulting and marketing services.
  • A resolution authorizing execution of a software service agreement with SiteImprove, Inc., to monitor the city's website and improve performance.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a professional services agreement with Shazam Interactive, LLC, for website development and maintenance.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a professional services agreement with Bob Riley and Associates for lobbying services in Montgomery.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a professional services agreement with Van Scoyoc Associates for consulting services.
  • A reminder of a public hearing on Jan. 7 regarding the Sweat Tire site plan review. The company seeks to build a store on the north side of Canal Road at South Cypress Street. Sweat Tire doesn’t want to make improvements to Cypress required by the Planning Commission for approval of the plan.