Fort Myers land slated for apartments sells for $12.5M, reminder of growth

A developer has plans to make changes that would continue to alter the landscape of downtown Fort Myers. A vacant lot along the Caloosahatchee is about to be home to two luxury apartments.

People we spoke to say these apartments and the number of apartments nearby are a sign of the times. More growth here in Southwest Florida means more people need a place to live.

An investor group recently bought the land along First Street near Altamont Avenue in downtown Fort Myers for $12.5 million — slated for luxury apartments.

Gavin Lowe has lived in For Myers for more than 10 years.

“I come down here if, you know, the sun is nice,” Lowe said. “And I’ll go out here and take a photo or come down here to take photos.”

Lowe understands why the recently purchased land is desirable and sold for tens of millions.

“You’re going to get more people who want to come here because it has nice weather,” Lowe said. “It’s beautiful, low taxes, so that’s the reason that made me want to come here.”

Two luxury apartment buildings and a parking structure are planned for the site.

“I understand that there’s always going to be need for progress where people want to move here and build up brand-new buildings,” Lowe said.

That progress is also evident to Bob and Audrey Bihary, who called Fort Myers home for about 20 years and now live outside Orlando.

“There were little stores, and that was 15, 18 years ago,” Audrey said. “And we enjoyed it then also, but, now, we miss it.”

While they say they miss old Fort Myers, they understand how times continue to change.

“You can’t stop growth. People are moving to Florida by the thousands every week,” Bob said. “So you just have to accept it.”

Lowe says, as the River District appearances changes and evolves, it doesn’t stop him from enjoying it, and it also doesn’t diminish his personal willingness to explore if need be.

“I really enjoy living here because this is great weather, good people,” Lowe said. “And, if this spot becomes completely occupied, and I can’t take photos from here, then, I’ll find another place because there are hundreds of other places.”

The vice president of Fischler Property Company, the group that represented the property seller, says they believe this project will shift downtown’s center of gravity westward.

That’s something that happened years ago before there were more options downtown. Many locals remember that area was the social center and the bar Shooters was there.

Right across the street of the recently bought land, City Walk apartments is under construction, which is a continued sign of how fast the city is growing.

Some folks have already shared their memories and pictures of this corridor of downtown Fort Myers, and we don’t want the memories to stop. Got to the WINK News Facebook post and share your pictures and memories of the west end of downtown with us!

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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