New luxury apartment developers will see a $6 million tax break

A vision of luxury apartments with a $6 million discount.

Fort Myers city leaders want to give a substantial tax break to the developers willing to build new apartments in downtown as they are foreseeing them as a boost to the local economy.

Downtown Fort Myers is bustling, with a lot of growth and now a demand for more places to live.

“We have a need for rental units,” said Bert Parsley, a real estate agent, “especially in the river district.”

A few high rises overlook the Caloosahatchee. Janna Brawn just purchased a condominium there.

“We just thought this would be a good investment,” Brawn said.

But lots bought for condominium have been sitting vacant for years.

“Build it and then if its gonna sit there vacant because they can’t occupy because no one can afford,” Ed Tucker said, “that’s stupid to me.”

“There are some complexes that are going through a glut,” Parsley said. “But I think that’s more based on the price points. This being a rental complex is quite different.”

Two hundred seventy units would be built on an empty lot, previously used by Grace United Methodist Church. The apartments, city officials claim, will bring in more jobs, tax revenue and better property values to Downtown Fort Myers.

“The largest complex downtown is a high point at 273 units,” Parsley said. “It mirrors the largest complex down here.”

Developers budget for the project is over $62 million. If approved, the $6 million tax break would come over 10 years.

It is not unusual for a city to give similarly sized tax breaks. The City of Fort Myers has given similar tax savings for other big construction projects in the past.

The River District Apartments would be rented out for a little over $1,500 a month. Developers said they would drive economic growth with over 1,000 jobs, better property values and more than $1 million in annual tax revenue.

“Working towards rentals now is a smart move,” Parsley said.

Reporter:Britni McDonald
Writer:Michael Mora
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