In a move to address the ongoing challenges of seasonal labor shortages in Baldwin County, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the city of Foley and Wisconsin-based Holtz Companies are creating a seasonal workforce campus in Foley.
The $18 million investment, to be constructed by Holtz Builders Inc. and managed by International Residence Hall Inc., will initially be comprised of two 37,500-square-foot residence hall-style buildings that can accommodate 600 seasonal workers. Construction of the buildings should be completed by early summer 2024. The site also has room for expansion in the future.
The seasonal workforce campus will accommodate international students taking part in the U.S. Summer Work Travel (J-1 Visa) program, H2B Visa program and others. Alabama-based businesses can connect with available seasonal workers through the IRH program and the sponsor agencies IRH works with.
“Our employees are the lifeblood of our businesses, and we are very proud to have found a cutting-edge solution to providing much-needed housing for the terrific seasonal workers who are vital to our businesses in Foley and to that community’s economy,” said Stephanie Bryan, chairman and CEO of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, which owns Owa, a multi-use amusement park and retail development in Foley. “Our partnership with Holtz and the city of Foley has created the first seasonal housing campus of its kind in Alabama, and we anticipate that this model can offer a solution to seasonal housing needs in other popular vacation destinations.”
Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich, added, “Employee housing is a crucial piece of the employment equation in this area, and we are glad to partner with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and Holtz to crate this new opportunity in Foley.”
Holtz will construct, maintain and manage the new property, under its International Residence Hall Inc. subsidiary. The campus will include 24/7 staff on site with security monitoring and RFID access control to all residential areas, plus wireless internet through the campus. Standard rooms accommodate four residents with four beds, individual lockers, a private bathroom, a private shower, a large refrigerator and study desks. ADA-accessible rooms have space for two individuals and contain the same amenities as standard rooms. Additionally, common kitchen space, a gathering space and laundry facilities are included.
Room deposits are $460, and $150 is the weekly rental rate.