Fort Myers falls back to looking for new hotel developer

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Plans to build a Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Fort Myers are being held up as the city looks for a new developer.

For two years, the city went back and forth with Steve Goodman over upfront fees for the hotel deal. Goodman failed repeatedly to get financing for the project, most recently backsliding on multiple changes to pay the city $300,000.

The proposed Sheraton Hotel is slated on a site near Harborside Event Center. Nine years ago, the same project was approved for developer WCI. The interest in the hotel faded, though, when the recession hit.

Now the city will try to find a committed developer for the third time. Don Paight with the Community Redevelopment Agency said a huge priority is finding developers with funds.

The city believes the hotel would make Harborside attractive to small and medium business conventions and provide rooms for more visitors in summer and fall.

The demand that the hotel be full-service with 225 rooms and a parking garage still stands, the city said. It also wants the developer to operate the city-owned Harborside Event Center.

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