Fort Myers Beach Margaritaville developer to build affordable apartments

Demolition crews are back on Fort Myers Beach clearing the way for Margaritaville, but big plans for the resort are going beyond the beach.

The developer, TPI Hospitality Group, also wants to build affordable apartments for Margaritaville workers near Pine Ridge Road.

Visitors in Fort Myers Beach are excited to hear Margaritaville is on the way.

“I know people that go out of their way to see every Jimmy Buffett concert when he comes to town,” said visitor Ashley Bowles, “…[they] eat in his restaurants and go to his hotel so it might draw in a specific clientele.”

Friday’s demolition may seem like a small step, but TPI spokesman John Gucciardo says it’s a long time in the making, “Obviously the Margaritaville project is moving along a little bit more slowly than most people would’ve liked. There are some legal obstacles that we have to get past but what we’re doing in the meantime as were trying to get all the permitting and design work in place.”

The hospitality group is also finalizing plans to build affordable apartments for its workers.

The complex will include another hotel on a 15-acre lot near the corner of Pine Ridge Road and San Carlos Blvd.

For employees of businesses on Fort Myers Beach, like Chris Soto, they know commuting to work during peak season can get a little difficult, “With the vacation rentals taking over the island and prices of long-term annual rentals being so high anything that they can do to help out their employees especially some that are coming from out-of-state and out-of-town would be beneficial.”

TPI says they plan to submit final plans to the town within the next month with a possible groundbreaking by the end of the year.

TPI also says the property will have about 150 rental units, but only about one-third of those are reserved for employees.

They say the cost of rent may be as low as $800.

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth