PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda could see a multi-million dollar expansion if it gets approved by the city.
Before they take their plans to the board in January, they are first hoping to get some community input on their development plans.
As it stands Fishermen’s Village features 37 waterfront retail shops, dine-in restaurants, suite rentals, and a marina.
“We’ll start with the architect drawings and we anticipate that taking about two years. It’s a big project,” said Patti Allen, Executive VP of Community and Government Relations at Fishermen’s Village.
She said it will be a while until the expansion happens, but they’ve outgrown their space.
“We continue to see a lot of growth here not only at Fishermen’s Village, but in our community,” Allen said.
The expansion they have in the works would add 45-thousand square feet of new retail space.
Allen said there’s a waiting list of local business owners vying for a storefront at Fishermen’s Village.
She said that could reel in a lot of job opportunities for the community.
“There’s no big box stores at village right now. So the motto is a small little business, mom-and-pop if you will,” Allen said.
Some locals believe the expansion could be good, but many fear Punta Gorda is losing its small-town charm.
“It’s losing that small-town feel but it’s gonna happen,” said Mike Bechaid, the bar manager of the Village Fish Market.
“Punta Gorda is growing you gotta accept the new with the old. some people are not on board with this Florida is really growing. A lot of people are moving here everything is changing,” Bechaid said.
It’s a change that some are resistant to.
Michael Reilly, a local bartender said, he didn’t like the idea at first.
“I wasn’t at first, but now I feel more comfortable with it.”
He agrees that it could bring more opportunities.
“Meet some new friends, new connections stuff like that so it’s interesting,” he said.
Fishermen’s Village has met with business owners from Fishermen’s Village to discuss their future plans, but they’re still looking for input and the public is invited.
Their next community meeting is on Tuesday, November 22 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the Military Heritage Museum at Fishermen’s Village.