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LOOK AT THE "BAYSIDE" | Two years for big plans for marina at Fort Myers Beach

Moss Marina may soon transform into a 'Marina Village' with three hotels, along with more restaurants and shops
Posted at 10:02 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 22:04:04-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Plans for the redevelopment of the Moss Marina area into Arches Bayfront, a new Marina Village, are pending approval from the Town of Fort Myers Beach. This project aims to transform the five-acre site off Old San Carlos Boulevard.

The proposed development, led by Moss Marina owner Ben Freeland, includes the construction of three hotels with an estimated 400 rooms, alongside a full marina and various commercial outlets for dining, shopping, and entertainment.

The project is currently in the approval-seeking phase, with necessary paperwork expected to be completed by May, pending approvals from the local planning agency and the Town Council.

Freeland, who grew up in Fort Myers Beach, has expressed the project's alignment with various interests.

"To me, there were three important things: is it good for the neighbors, is it good for the businesses, and is it a good investment for our family? If we can connect those three, we think we have a great project," he said.

Community engagement has been a part of the planning process, including open houses and surveys that received over 1300 responses.

If the project gets the necessary approvals, the estimated construction period is around two years, with projected costs potentially reaching $200 million.

The development is part of the broader changes occurring in Fort Myers Beach. Freeland noted the potential impact of the project in the context of the area.

"It'll be kind of a barbell effect, with Margaritaville in Time's Square on one end, and Arches Bayfront on the bayside," he said.

Local visitors have provided various opinions on the project, with some expressing support for the changes and others anticipating the project's impact on public access and the local infrastructure.