Company seeks to develop ‘1st Street Village’ in Fort Myers

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- New police cars, a roundabout on McGregor Boulevard, a trolley service to downtown Fort Myers.
A new developer may be on the hook for paying for all of these items before building on a vacant lot.

Nearly eight acres of prime real estate that some people jokingly call “the dust bowl” is for sale. It was supposed to be an urban community, with homes and shops, but the city has saddled the land with a number of stipulations that the developer must satisfy, or get changed.

A new company called Madison Avenue Investment Group is buying the property on West 1st Street, also known as 1st Street Village.

City leaders believe the new owners want to build on this land, not just “flip” it for profit.

“What I’m real pleased with is, these are end-users. They want to develop, they’re not just speculators or investors,” said Don Paight, director of the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment.

Ten years ago, a previous developer called the area First Street Village, a mix of 343 residential units and 62,000 feet of commercial and retail space.

But, the city saddled the village with a dozen stipulations, requirements that a developer must satisfy, before building.

Those include contributing to trolley service to and from downtown, paying the cost of two policeĀ  cars, paying some of the cost of a roundabout and paying for infrastructure improvements, that normally the city would cover.

Those stipulations were put on the property during the boom years, when developers were willing to pay extra, to build.

“I’m sure the developer wants to talk about all 12 of those items. We’ll see if they commit to them, or want some kind of waivers on some of them,” said city councilman Mike Flanders.

People on the west end of downtown have waited more than a decade for something to happen here.

“Well I’d sure like to to see the dust bowl disappear,” said Kay Orser. “I’d like to see some mixed use, residential and commercial there.”

A representative for the buyer tells WINK News they want to look closely at how to best develop the property. The stipulations could be a concern, but it appears the city is willing to give on some or all of those requirements.

Author: Mike Walcher