FORT MYERS, Fla. -- WINK News is uncovering details about a unique new business coming to downtown Fort Myers. The old Red Rock Saloon on First Street has been vacant for months. But it's going through a transformation, into "The Lodge."
The Lodge will be a restaurant and bar unlike anything downtown. The restaurant could look like a lodge, in fact, with snow, mountains, with perhaps the biggest plasma screen in southwest Florida.
"Perhaps a lawyers office?"
There's a buzz about a vacant building in downtown Fort Myers. Only WINK News has discovered it's going to be called The Lodge.
Picture this: say goodby to palm trees and hello to the mountains! Walk inside The Lodge, and be greeted by the smell of wood and barbeque.
"A little bit like Dubai - they have skiing in Dubai! We're going to have lodges in Fort Myers!" laughed one resident.
It's run by the same partnership that brought you these dining destinations:
Ford's Garage, The Firestone, Los Cabos Cantina, Capones, and The Boathouse.
WINK News wanted to know, is the city concerned with a partnership owning this many restaurants at once? Not at all, according to the CRA.
"They have demonstrated that they are well capitalized," said Don Paight, with the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency. "They are willing to put additional money in to support a restaurant if it needs additional support when it first opens up. So, I'm really not to concerned. I think they are in it for the long haul."
The long haul, and plenty more ideas to come. Mike McGuigan, with McGuigan Restaurant Concepts, is one of the partners, along with the Kearns Restaurant Group and Nills Richter, with Phoenix Holdings.
He wants to transport people out of Fort Myers, into a new environment.
"A big open feeling! Heavy timbers. Big stone fireplace, very cozy atmosphere. A place where you come in and sit down and not leave," he described.
He says The Lodge might feature a wall of TVs that make it appear as though you're looking out into nature. As for sports fans? "They're going to have the game on. It will be the biggest and largest television set in southwest Florida," said McGuigan.
The ideas are always changing. They just came up with the name last week. Right now, they are in the process of permitting.
They expect to hire about 75 new employees, and hope to open by the first of the year.