Newly discovered deed delays construction of ‘Luminary Hotel’

A deal made decades ago has put a hold on the construction of a highly-anticipated hotel in downtown Fort Myers.

The Luminary Hotel, which has been slated for construction next to the Harborside Event Center for almost a century, faces another set back after a bank underwriter discovered an old deed.

The city purchased the land for $100 from the Dean family with the agreement to never use it for business purposes.

“I think times have changed. I think it’s time to build the hotel. They’ve put millions of dollars into this project already and it needs to go forward,” Fort Myers resident Tony Richardson said.

Now, the company slotted to build the hotel is asking the city to insure up to $5 million in the event that the deal falls through.

“We’re going to be out on the hook for $5 million in the event that there is issues, I just think it’s risky,” councilman Fred Burson said.

The Fort Myers city council voted unanimously to hire outside counsel to address the issue.

Many nearby residents said both parties should find a way around the decades-old restriction.

“I’m all for honoring those agreements, I mean your word is your bond. And it’s not just a bond, it’s in writing … But maybe back with that family and say, ‘Hey, let’s maybe see if we can renegotiate this,'” Fort Myers resident Jacob Wheler said.

WINK News reached out to the Dean family to see if they would be open to renegotiating the deal, but never heard back from them.

The city plans to work on side projects around the site until it gets the green light on construction.

Joe Collier, president of Mainsail Lodging & Development released a statement Wednesday regarding the Luminary Hotel:

“We have every confidence the City of Fort Myers will resolve the matter, and our team will be ready to begin construction as soon as we’re given the go-ahead. In our opinion, it’s better to solve these issues now rather than after the hotel is built.”

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Reporter:Oliver Redsten
Writer:Katherine Viloria