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Downtown Fort Myers high-rise construction post-Hurricane Ian

Downtown FTM Hi
Posted at 6:23 AM, Mar 20, 2023

FORT MYERS, Fla. — As Lee County continues to recover following hurricane Ian, developers are looking toward the future of Fort Myers.

Multiple high rise residential areas are coming to downtown Fort Myers to meet the high demand for housing in the upcoming years.

Walking around the empty lot of where the Irving, which is a multifamily high rise with 98 units will be, Hurricane Ian still lingers for development companies who are bringing high rises along the Caloosahatchee River. Ryan Anderson, the Vice President of Development of Alzada Company compared the construction for high rises from years ago to now. His building is currently permitted under the 2020 Florida Building Code (FBC), because the updated FBC won't go into effect until 2024.

Florida Building Code

"A lot of the older construction before the Florida Building Code went into place, they saw a lot of catastrophic damage. As for the new stuff coming online, they didn't have any structural damage," Anderson said.

Many of the developers over the new high-rise projects that are coming to downtown Fort Myers explained that since they are new they have the opportunity to build up and put provisions in place to combat the issues from a potential storm.

However, residents who live in the older high rises on the river say it's pretty concerning that their building isn't elevated.

"The people who lived on the first floor of my building had water coming in," said Gary Schupp, a downtown Fort Myers resident.

While downtown, Fox 4's Briana Brownlee met Gary and a few of his neighbors. One of Gary's neighbors explained how their building was built in the 60s and many residential units on the first floor were left with studs after Ian.

"They built my building many many years ago, they didn't have that rule back then," Gary said. "It's probably a good idea, especially out here."

When it comes to the new construction, Anderson said Alzada has a two-prong system for protection.

"We have a passive wet flooring system, where there are actually flood vents on the ground floor and the garage. The provisions are made to basically allow for it [water] to pass through the building without causing any damage.," Anderson said. "For where our lobby will be located, about 5 feet from where we are standing now, there will be dry proofing or mechanically fastened floodproofing panels, that will basically repeal the water away. And basically create a bathtub. And that system will basically protect the interior of the building."

For more information regarding the new high rises coming to downtown Fort Myers, click here.