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The changing face of Pine Island Road: the new site of major developments

City records show more than 5,000 apartments are planned along Pine Island Road.
Pine Island Road
Posted at 8:59 AM, Jul 27, 2023

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Whether you’re looking from your car or taking a bird’s eye view, you can see signs of development everywhere on Pine Island Road.

“There’s a lot going on, which is really a surprise for this area,” said John Smart, who has lived in the Northwest part of Cape Coral for a decade.

The development is surprising for Smart because the Pine Island corridor has historically been left behind with commercial development.

“If you want to do anything, and you live in the northwest, if you want to go to Walmart you have to drive down to Del Prado or up to Punta Gorda. That’s 20 minutes. It’d be nice to go five to 10 minutes,” Smart said.

A 30-thousand square foot shopping center just east of Pine Island Road and Nicholas Parkway is set to open by the fall of 2024.

At Pine Island and Chiquita Roads, three new buildings were constructed in recent months.

City planning records show there are more than five thousand apartment units either under construction or in the planning phase in the 4-and-a-half-mile stretch of Pine Island Road between Santa Barbara Blvd. and Burnt Store Rd.

And then there’s the Cape Coral Grove, a 131-acre town center that will include retail, office space, a hotel and apartments.

“This area of land that is destined for development, if it’s done the right way it’s gonna draw tremendous, tremendous attention to our city,” said Jerry Smith, the President of the Northwest Cape Coral Neighborhood Association.

“We’re pro smart development. Smart development means we don’t want to see three, or four or five storage facilities.”

Areas that aren’t yet under construction feature for sale signs for giant empty lots.

Some developers are buying up land without a clear idea of what’s going in.

For instance, Lee Health purchased nearly 80 acres of land just east of Burnt Store Rd. for the sole purpose of eventually building something for the growing number of residents.

“I’ve been here 10 years and this is really the first time I’ve been excited about development. Because it’s actually happening,” said Smart.

The next time you drive along Pine Island Road, it might look different.

“It gives us all hope about a better tomorrow,” said Smith. “You can’t really put a price on that, for what it means to people.”