North Fort Myers empty property open for development discussion

There is a prime piece of real estate with a potential to be anything in North Fort Myers right off the Caloosahatchee River. Neighbors are split on the possibility of a new marina and restaurant coming to their area.

County-owned lot off Inlet Drive in the Waterway Estates in North Fort Myers is being considered for new development Monday.

“Restaurants and nightlife and all those things that it will bring to us, I think it’s an amazing prospect,” Joanne Kreise said.

However, many homeowners feel the opposite about the potential development near them.

Longtime resident Kreise, an avid boater, said there is one problem with a marina slated for the open lot.

“There’s no place around here that you can go and dock and dine,” Kreise said. “You have to travel all the way up the river or down the river. There’s no place locally here.”

The empty lot at the end of Inlet Dr. in the Waterway Estates may hold the solution to Kreis’s issue. County Commissioner Brian Hamman envisions turning the land into a marina and restaurant.

“It’s a win for everyone,” Kreise said.

The county has owned the waterfront land since 2007. Before that, it used to be a marina and restaurant. Many along Inlet Dr. Wonder what pollution it could bring, and this area is no stranger to bad water after algae wreaked havoc all summer.

“To put a marina in there, you know it used to have one,” Jon Haglund said. “But now you got oil in the water. You’re going to be polluting the thing no matter how careful you are.”

Haglund also doesn’t want to welcome any more traffic to the neighborhood, and Kreise wonders why.

“Let’s keep this in perspective,” Kreise said. “You’re not going to have 60,000 people trying to get to that location all at the same time. It’s just never going to happen. Will there be a little bit of an influx in traffic? Probably.”

Hamman said the other option is to sell the property and let the new owner decide the land’s fate.

Regardless, Kreise believes the developed land will have a positive impact on North Fort Myers.

“This area has huge potential,” Kreise said. “The sky is the limit.”

Hamman encourages the public to attend the commissions next meeting this Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at the old county courthouse in downtown Fort Myers. There, comment will be open during the public hearing.

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