Published: May 19, 2014 3:06 PM EDT
Updated: May 19, 2014 6:14 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- The city of Fort Myers has gotten documentation from Western National Capital Partners that it wants to proceed with a 53.4 million dollar hotel on the riverfront. The Sheraton hotel would connect to Harborside event center.

"I am very, very pleased.  We are moving forward with private money for the hotel and this is what we need to put Harborside back in the convention business," says Don Paight, the dir. of redevelopment for the city.

"The hotel would be 12 stories, the most we allow, and about 225 rooms, possibly with some larger suites as well.  It would have the entrance on the north, Edwards Drive, facing the Caloosahatchee river.  Many rooms would overlook the river.   They also would build a 4-story parking garage, that the city would lease back for public use.   And there are no public dollars involved in the building, just the city donation of the parking lot land next to Harborside for the hotel," says Paight.

The next step would be for the city council to meet face to face with the developer on June 2.  If the council votes favorably later on, the city would enter negotiations on the actual construction of the hotel. 

Fort Myers has worked for more than 10 years to get a brand-name hotel for the riverfront.

The city must come up with 9 to 10 million dollars to upgrade Harborside.  Some could come from Lee county. Its commissioners meet Tuesday to talk about giving the city 400-thousand dollars a year, over 10 years, to help with cost of improving the event center.