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AFTER IAN: What's up with Fort Myers Beach Dairy Queen lot sold for $6.4 million

New mixed-use building planned in its place will have several stories, complying with building codes designed to survive future floods and storms.
Posted at 11:25 PM, Mar 15, 2024

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — In September 2022, Hurricane Ian changed Fort Myers Beach forever. And for more than a year now, Fox 4 has tracked the recovery and rebuilding efforts as a new version of the town emerges from the rubble.

That includes the empty lot in Times Square that once housed a Dairy Queen before Hurricane Ian. The land has now been sold for $6.4 million.

Terry Persaud, the CEO of Persaud Properties and Investments, expressed excitement about the acquisition, calling the location iconic. However, due to its proximity to the water, any construction will need to meet extra requirements, like raising the building by 19 feet, similar to the construction standards of Margaritaville.

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Persaud outlined ambitious plans for the property, "Two or three stories above flood, and it'll incorporate restaurants, some living units, and it'll have a boardwalk system on the second floor to connect, hopefully to the pier."

The new building's design is constrained by a height limit of approximately 50 feet, but it will maximize its space by including a rooftop bar. Persaud emphasized the importance of diversifying the building's offerings to include retail, a restaurant, and living units to keep prices affordable and meet tourist demands.

The tourists we spoke to agreed. They suggested that the area could benefit from more diverse attractions such as beach shops.

People who live in the Ft Myers Beach area full-time, however, have other feelings about the development. Mike Brown, a musician who has been coming to Times Square to play his guitar every week and has loved Fort Myers Beach for nearly half a century, is concerned about the potential loss of the town's charm and affordability.

"You know Fort Myers Beach has always been an affordable place for people, and if these places are all ate up by people who are going to be selling to the highest bidder, I worry about that," Brown shared, reflecting on the changes he has witnessed over the years.

Despite these concerns, the development is moving forward, with construction expected to begin by the end of the year.

"If I had infinite money, I'd leave it wide open so we can look at the water," Brown expressed.

Fort Myers Beach's Community Correspondent Anvar Ruziev will be there in approximately two weeks when Persaud and other developers in Times Square will unveil the renderings of the new buildings, providing a clearer picture of the future of the beloved beachside destination.