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CHANGING THE COAST: New $200 million project coming to Fort Myers Beach

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jan 31, 2024

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Fort Myers Beach is seeing another significant transformation with the planned development of a new resort on Estero Boulevard, where the former Outrigger Resort and Charlie's Restaurant once stood. This project is undertaken by real estate developer London Bay.

Last summer, London Bay acquired the two properties for over $38 million, with a vision to develop the beachside property into a modern resort featuring 196 units.

Mark Wilson, the President and CEO of London Bay, shared the scale of the investment. "If you add the construction cost plus the acquisition cost, you're looking in today's dollars, north of 200 million," he said.

The project's approval is still pending, with the public given the opportunity to voice their opinions before town leaders formalize the plans. If given the green light, the completion of the resort is anticipated by the end of 2027. A notable change to the skyline is expected, with the resort reaching 17 floors, an increase from the original 4-story structure that preceded it.

Local residents and business owners are keenly observing the development, with some, like John Koss, hoping for a balance between commercial and community interests.

"If you have two parcels of land, and you're developing the bigger parcel of land, maybe we could use the other one to do something for the community, some green space," suggested Koss, a business owner and resident of Fort Myers Beach.

Traffic concerns have also been raised. The area, currently not as busy as the north side, might experience more congestion due to the rebuilding and large-scale projects.

Despite these challenges, Wilson is hoping to integrate the resort with the local community, focusing local sourcing.

"I think the whole idea of food to table is really nice, so if we can get local shrimp, grouper, or fish, or if there's a local farm where we can get local greens, we're all for that," Wilson stated.

Plans for the resort include a beach Tiki bar, a hotel restaurant, and a rooftop restaurant. Wilson hopes to retain the Outrigger name for the Tiki bar, paying homage to Estero Island's rich history.