FORT MYERS, Fla-- The long-awaited Harborside Hotel in the River District is closer than ever to becoming a reality. After a decade-worth of road blocks, the Fort Myers city council voted on Monday to go ahead with the measure to lease the land to the developer.
“I really believe that this is going to happen and downtown can only be strengthened from it,” said United Ale House owner Andy Morgan.
Morgan has been actively participating in public meetings and forums surrounding downtown development. He believes a new hotel could mean increased business for not only him, but the dozens of other businesses nearby.
“I’ve seen the presentation by the developers and it’s really exciting, I really got the impression that they can walk the walk,” said Morgan.
The latest renderings include a 225-room, full service hotel and parking garage, changes to a nearby boat ramp and park along with an amphitheater for the hotel and public. These are all amenities that locals say would make the area more vibrant.
“Long overdue, and I can’t believe the town has passed up opportunities in the past,” said resident Joseph Loda.
Other proposals for future hotels in the same location have fallen through in the past, but the latest plans are the closest they’ve been to having a hotel like in the area.
“I’m looking forward to it, you can’t have a convention here without having a hotel to support the convention itself,” said resident Loda.
The Fort Myers city council said the goal would be for this new hotel to accommodate large groups. Now it appears past frustration and years of waiting will soon be rewarded with the city poised to put missing puzzle piece into place to help the city take its tourism offerings to a new level.
“I can see that the city and the downtown businesses are going to be able to put more and more on as the visitor numbers grow,” said Morgan.
Construction is expected to begin early 2017.