Withered two years ago when developers defaulted on $100 million in loans, plans to replace a storm-battered stretch of beach houses and low-rise condos with the state’s tallest residential towers have officially died, according to city officials.
“It was just too big a project to do in this economy,” said Greg Leatherbury, a lawyer who worked with Mandolay Beach’s six lenders as they tried to revive the project last year.
Mandolay Beach was originally proposed during the area’s post-Hurricane Ivan building boom as a pair of 36-story condo towers at the terminus of Ala. 161, and later recast as a convention center and resort. To do so required special zoning that came with an expiration date if construction failed to begin. Despite that deadline being extended multiple times, dirt never turned and the 15 acres of beach-front reverted in recent days to the zoning it held when Ivan struck in 2004 and ripped the faces off the structures that sat there