The Wharf Reaches Record-Breaking Occupancy on Alabama Gulf Coast

The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama

The Wharf at Orange Beach, a popular shopping, dining and entertainment venue on the Alabama Gulf Coast, has reached a record-breaking total occupancy of 98% in 2021 — up from 93% in May 2020.

On the cusp of a completely full venue with only four unoccupied spaces remaining on The Wharf property, the growth has gained much interest from businesses in a range of sectors including restaurants, real estate, entertainment and retail. New tenants that have recently joined The Wharf family include Local Life OBACool Shots Selfie MuseumHUK Performance Fishing ApparelSouthern AthleticaPoppy’s BoutiqueMaho ShadesMA Beauty Lounge, Gulf Coast Athletics, Compass Media, the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and The Wharf Welcome Center, The Spice & Tea ExchangeMurder Point Oysters, The Coastal Leaders Property Group, Coco LOUIE, Joanna A Boutique, Claremont Property Co., Wise Living Real Estate and more on the way that have yet to open. Nearly all are owned by area residents, making The Wharf one of the highest concentrations on the Gulf Coast of locally-owned businesses.

“As The Wharf enters its 15th year, we’re excited to welcome new establishments that will contribute to our continued success,” said Kristen Hammack, management team leader at The Wharf. “We are always looking for ways to better serve and meet the needs of both visitors and locals, and each of these new businesses brings something unique to our offerings. We pride ourselves in being a safe, family friendly venue where you can experience everything from getting married and purchasing a home to renown fishing tournaments, creative culinary options, unique shopping, energetic concerts and more — a place where ‘life’ happens.”

Tom Thumb also recently acquired and broke ground on 3.94 acres of land located at the intersection of Canal Road and Wharf Parkway East for the development of a convenience store and gas pumps. And just behind it, a 127,000 sq. ft. storage facility is currently under construction. The Wharf partnered with Jeff Barnes, broker with Stirling Properties, who is serving as the commercial leasing agent for the property and responsible for securing each of these new tenants.

“We are thrilled to work with The Wharf and welcome new businesses to Orange Beach. Despite the numerous struggles over the last year, the significance of this record-breaking occupancy for The Wharf truly demonstrates the resiliency of the community and the tenacity of locally-owned businesses, as well as the tremendous efforts of the entire team at The Wharf,” said Jeff Barnes, CCIM, senior investment advisor for Stirling Properties.

“The positive momentum is fostering new opportunities for the undeveloped parcels of The Wharf, like the new Tom Thumb and fast-serve establishments and self-storage facility. Our market dynamics and growth are very encouraging, and we are poised for continued success. We look forward to welcoming even more great tenants to The Wharf soon.”

Just last month, Shades Sunglasses and Casual Apparel, with 10 locations in four states across the Southeast, confirmed their highest-ever, single-day record in sales across all stores at its Wharf location. Shades owners, Joe and Mary Jernigan, have also recently opened HUK Performance Fishing Apparel and Coco LOUIE at The Wharf.

“Our sales during the car show a few weekends ago were higher than any Black Friday, Christmas, Memorial Day or other major-shopping holiday that we have seen,” said Joe Jernigan. “Because of the expected growth at The Wharf, we decided to open up two additional stores this year, and both businesses have already exceeded projected business model expectations. Shades at The Wharf has surpassed all other locations in sales and is on track for its best year ever since its inception in 2004 — up 30% from 2019.”

With this growth, The Wharf has made various infrastructure and general property updates along with a substantial upgrade to the nightly light show that now features state-of-the-art lasers named the SPECTRA Laser Light Experience. The spectacle is viewed by more than 115,000 visitors each year.

The Wharf Amphitheater, which was nominated for the 2019 Academy of Country Music Awards Outdoor Venue of the Year, has also received recent upgrades and will be welcoming back the C Spire Summer Concert Series this year with its first socially distant event kicking off on April 25 featuring NEEDTOBREATHE. Other top-charting industry artists are slated to perform in 2021 including the popular Luke Bryan, Jon Pardi, Brantley Gilbert, Brooks & Dunn and more.

Along with concerts, The Wharf is excited to safely welcome back annual events such as car shows, festivals, food events and holiday celebrations with more than 50 events slated for the remainder of 2021.

For the latest news and updates on what’s to come at The Wharf, visit alwharf.com, or follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @thewharfoba. For commercial real estate information pertaining to The Wharf including executive office suites, traditional office suites, retail space and commercial sites for development, contact Jeff at 251-975-8222 or via email at jbarnes@stirlingprop.com.

About The Wharf

Located in beautiful Orange Beach, Ala., The Wharf is an official entertainment district with hundreds of family friendly events throughout the year. Enjoy shopping, drinks and dining at our 60+ unique stores, bars and restaurants. Stay onsite at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotel or Levin’s Bend Condominium, catch a movie at the 15-screen AMC Theatre, experience a trip around one of the Southeast’s largest Ferris wheels, take a train ride down Main Street, grab a game of mini golf, explore all that nature has to offer on a boating excursion or catch a nightly SPECTRA Laser Light Experience show — the options are endless. The 10,000-seat Wharf Amphitheater hosts a variety of well-known entertainers, and The Wharf Marina is home to some of the largest in-water boat shows and saltwater fishing tournaments on the Gulf. For more information or to book a reservation, visit alwharf.com.

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