FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. -- After more than a year of legal issues, the plans to build the Margaritaville resort on Fort Myers Beach can officially move forward.
A judge withdrew the final lawsuit against the resort and town that held up the project for months.
The resort made the announcement on their Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon.
Businesses and people living in the area tell Fox 4 they are excited for the project to get underway.
“I mean, Jimmy Buffett. I think the brand will bring people down here; it’s gonna be very good for the beach,” says Paul Grattarola of Yucatan Beach Stand.
And a lot of surrounding businesses agree that the Margaritaville resort will bring more tourists and money. “And that’s gonna help everyone in this area, cause they are not just gonna go to Margaritaville, they are gonna test the water in our areas,” says Grattarola.
For more than a year, two lawsuits held up construction on this project. They were filed by Chris Patton. The first one was a civil action lawsuit, which Patton withdrew.
The second one, a judge ruled in favor of the resort and Town of Fort Myers Beach.
So now, plans can move forward for the resort.
“The town’s position is simply to continue to support a project that the council approved and I think the community is anxiously awaiting,” says Mayor Anita Cereceda.
The seven-acre resort will span both sides of Estero Boulevard near Crescent Street, between the pier and the Lani Kai resort.
It’s an area the town mayor says needed some sprucing up since Hurricane Charley 15 years ago. “Lots of buildings needed rehabbing; it just has not been useful. Bit by bit, things getting torn down. So the fact that our downtown is gonna have this major rehab is exciting for our visitors, our residents,” says Cereceda.
Developers plan to break ground on the Margaritaville resort early next year. It’s expected to take about a year and half to complete the project.
That construction worries some people, saying it will cause more traffic. “It’s gonna be congested. It’s congested already every March and April anyway, but this could be a year round event,” says Grattarola.
Right now, the resort is working with a contractor to ensure minimal impact for drivers and locals when construction begins.
The town mayor tells Fox 4 that Patton has 30 days to decide if he wants to appeal the case. If he does appeal, it goes into another judicial process and it’s unclear how long that would take.