CAPE CORAL, Fla. - An old, vacant building in Cape Coral is getting new life. The Del Prado Boat Club on 46th Street has sat empty for years, but that will soon change.
The building was supposed to be a dry boat storage and marina all along. But after it was built in 2008, the previous owners couldn't afford to move on with the plans, so the building sat vacant. Now a Cape Coral business is using it to expand.
There are already signs of life outside, and inside the old Del Prado Boat Club. "The property was built, finished in 2008, so its been sitting for 5 or 6 years now, totally vacant," explained Tom Hansen. He's the owner of The Boat House, next door. He bought the vacant property in September.
"It's brand new, never been used. State of the art hurricane rated facility, so it's designed to withstand category four winds, it has a brand new forklift and brand new docks," Hansen said.
The city's planning and zoning commission unanimously voted to let Hansen operate a dry boat storage and marina. "This allows more boaters to get on the water and have access to the water," he said.
The building has room for 155 boats, which will be lifted in, and out of the water. Hansen says this expansion means he's hiring more employees, and hopes to open for business by the beginning of next year.
"I didn't know what they were every gonna do with it! It just sat there, for years," said Robert Broderick. He lives next door, and is a bit concerned about the noise. "They use the big forklift to take out the boats, I can even hear it in my condo you know?" he said. "I wish them well, I don't care, as long as they keep the noise down."
Certain restrictions are in place to keep the noise level to a minimum for neighbors.
The facility will close at 6 pm every day, and they aren't allowed to do any repair work outside of the building or in the canal.