Country Resortification

As one country star-backed resort in Dothan, Ala., moves forward, another one at Panama City Beach, Fla., headed by the same developer sits idle because of the depressed economy.

Alabama developer Ronnie Gilley is moving full speed ahead on the Country Crossing resort and entertainment complex backed by country stars George Jones, Lorrie Morgan, Darryl Worley and John Anderson.

The project officially broke ground March 21 with Jones Jam, a free outdoor concert featuring Jones, Black, Lee Greenwood, Aaron Tippin, Randy Houser and Shane Owen performing for a reported 11,000 fans, according to the Country Crossing Web site.

The first phase includes the Jones-themed Possum Holler Bed and Breakfast currently under construction, which is scheduled to open this summer. Also in the plan is the Lorrie Morgan Café, Darryl Worley’s Worley Bird Café, Tracy Lawrence BBQ, John Anderson Buffet and an electronic bingo center.

However, Gilley’s La Borgata townhome and condominium project in Florida, in the works since 2006, was suspended last November because of the nationwide credit crisis and real estate slowdown.

The development had ties to Alan Jackson, who appeared at the groundbreaking, was featured on billboards and reportedly was going to maintain a residence there once the project was completed.

Richard Kjellander, VP of operations and development for Ronnie Gilley Properties, said at the time the company would still be interested in completing the project once the housing market improves.