FORT MYERS, Fl. - The downtown river basin project is almost finished. Wednesday, Fort Myers city leaders are naming names on which businesses may be moving in.
The underground work is through and water is in the basin. The project is on schedule to be finished by the end of this year, but city leaders say, by the end of September, they could reach a deal with a new hotel developer.
"We have the structural portion of the basin built and now we're working on the hard scape items such as putting in the concrete, the sidewalks, the bricks and the railings," Kaye Molnar.
Project president Kaye Molnar says, the river basin is setting the stage for some major development downtown.
"We've got areas that are ready for restaurants and businesses and hotels to come into," she says.
"We need to make an emphasis on creating a modern city in order to set the table for businesses who want to come and do business in the city of Fort Myers," says Mayor Henderson.
Mayor Randall Henderson says the city is just waiting to hear back from the Sarasota-based developer about taking on the project to bring a major hotel here, and he's confident that the finished river basin, will help seal the deal.
"They're doing due diligence to see that this can be a profitable opportunity for them... from my perspective the timing right now is great," he adds.
In the past decade, improvements to city infrastructure has brought in more than 800-million dollars in private investment and they're hoping to add more.
"Columbia Restaurants is a small chain largely in Florida... I think our city is extremely well suited for them and so we're hopeful they will find this to be am attractive marketplace," says Mayor Henderson.
"Chico's is a part of our city's fabric... my hunch is they're planning to have a facility downtown," he adds.
"It'll bring a lot more people here, tourists especially because tourists love coming here because they always have a bunch of events going on," says resident, Nicole Edge.