Published: Oct 07, 2013 12:48 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 07, 2013 9:30 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.-  A prospective developer with plans to bring a convention-quality hotel to downtown Fort Myers has backed out.

Sarasota developer John Meshad told city leaders that he is too busy with other hotel projects to continue.

The city has been working with Meshad for a while, after he showed interest in developing the hotel, which would've bordered the water basin and would've been attached to the Harborside Event Center.

In July, Meshad told Fort Myers city officials they had to upgrade Harborside, if they wanted the hotel to go up right next to it.

Downtown Fort Myers has really expanded. All the new features like the River Basin were part of a plan that includes a nationally named hotel.

But today WINK News has learned that deal is on hold because the Sarasota developer backed out.

For the past 18 months the city and the developer have been planning to build a 225 room hotel attached to the Harborside Event Center.

It would sit on top of a parking garage and the entire project had a price tag of nearly $40 million.


"We have at least three companies that are interested in coming forward so we will be staying the coarse," said mayor Randy Henderson.

Downtown business owners think the hotel would definitely bring people to the area and add even more incentives for other companies to open up shop,

but some feel a new developer may be better in the long run.

"That's probably a good thing because they probably want a better deal then what they had because it was a tougher time," said Rene Miville of The Franklin Shops.

The city could possibly start talks with new developers by as early as next week