Developer reboots downtown Fort Myers Beach plans

Differing visions loom over the future of Fort Myers Beach.

The town already sent Naples-based developer TPI back to the drawing board several times over its plans to develop the downtown area. Now, after consulting neighbors and business owners and creating a focus group, TPI is hoping it has a plan that will win approval.

“It’s going to change the face of Fort Myers Beach,” focus group member Charlie Whitehead said. “There’s no way around that.”

The developer recently submitted a revised application of its third proposed plan.

“It’s way less ‘Disneyland’ than it was the first time out of the box,” Whitehead said.

The latest plans include a hotel resort with 260 rooms and elevated pedestrian walkovers on the bay side, while the beach side includes a pool “beach club” and restaurant-bar.

Longtime visitor Mark Morey isn’t anxious to see that happen.

“They do enough business the way things are,” he said. “I say keep it the way it is.”

TPI’s latest plans are scaled back from earlier versions. They no longer rely on the county-owned Seafarer’s property or the Crescent Family Beach Park. They also don’t include rerouting traffic at the base of the Matanzas Pass Bridge.

Project leaders and town officials believe the latest plans will go to the local planning agency by February. They could go before Town Council by March.

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