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FRIDAY HALF FULL | Two new resorts, two new "looks"

Port Charlotte and Fort Myers Beach already look vastly different with Sunseeker, Margaritaville
Posted at 7:44 PM, Dec 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-08 19:44:27-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — These are very heady times on the water in two different spots.

Two different counties.

Two different vibes.

Over the next week, you’ll probably see a lot of aerials, some people with massive scissors to cut the ribbon of major resorts that will officially open.

First, we’ll start in Charlotte County as, late next week, the Sunseeker Resort will open up, three years after the build started, right on Tamiami Trail, in Port Charlotte.

Before the sunseeker went up, this was a park here and, now, it’s this. A large marina is also part of the project for people to get out onto the water.

With the tie-in with Allegiant Airlines in nearby Punta Gorda, I get a lot of questions about the Sunseeker. It can be a great spot for boating or going out in Charlotte County – which the businesses want --- but it’s still another 40 minutes to Engelwood Beach.

We caught a preview of the Margaritaville Beach resort in fort Myers beach back on Thursday night, from FOX 4’s Anvar Ruziev. Yes, as this resort will be taking room reservations, starting for Monday, it will be the talk of this end of Estero Island.

As one would expect, it’s big, it’s showy, but it’s timing is so much different than when crews put the first gallon of cement into the ground.

We’ve followed the building of the Margaritaville before hurricane Ian… and after Ian.

This is an element that can’t be denied – for all of the people upset about this resort, whether for it not fitting in with the vibe of the island or the corporate or chain element of Margaritaville, it’s a different world. the charm of Fort Myers Beach did come from the pastel cottages. The little businesses in those spots. Ray’s pizza. The Salty Crab. The Silver Witch. The storm wiped them out… and Margaritaville bought more of the land that was now flattened.

So where will all of this growth go?

There is a concern – and legitimate concern – that any open beach property on both sides of Estero Boulevard will look like the A1A on the Atlantic side.

That’s valid.

I've lived in a city that a flood nearly destroyed 15 years ago.

The Flood of 2008 took out Cedar Rapids, Iowa took about 5 years to build back, to get the attractions and amenities back.

Downtown was a ghost town for about 18 months, similar to what we’ve seen at Fort Myers Beach – where millions of people flock to each year.

Both the Sunseeker and Margaritaville may not fit into the true tapestry of what was there. A park in Port Charlotte by the water and also the most visible turn in Fort Myers Beach.

But they’re here.

They’re “ours”.

Even if we never spend a nickle at them.

Let’s just hope the next projects do have some ambience to them… with the surroundings.

It’s “our Florida”.

Some say the best part of Florida — with the hope that millions still come to enjoy it – and that “our Florida" will always look the part.