The city of Cape Coral has big plans for Pine Island Road, a heavily traveled artery that connects the city to I-75 before ending on Pine Island.
More than $300 million in projects on the thoroughfare will be coming online soon, said Cape Coral Economic Development Manager Ricardo Noguera. That includes two shopping plazas and a new hotel, a first for the northern part of Cape Coral.
“It’s going to really support the northeastern part of town, especially the northern (part) where we do not have any hotels north of the south Cape,” Noguera said.
Noguera said over 30,000 vehicles travel Pine Island Road every day and that brings a huge customer base for businesses along that corridor, which makes the roadway ripe for development.
“As the corridor continues to grow, we’re going to see more cluster development and more employers coming to this area to create employment opportunities for the 200,000-plus people who live in the Cape,” Noguera said.
About nine projects are slated to open on Pine Island Road in 2021. They include shopping spaces, restaurants and apartments.
At the Springs at Cape Coral, a new apartment community, managers Taylor Pack and Megan Mares said tenants will be moving in by the end of the month. The community, on Yellow Creek Loop, won’t fully open until June.
“Our first building is almost completely occupied,” Mares said.
Also set to open next year is Encompass Health’s 80-bed rehab hospital. Meanwhile, construction will begin on a new grocery store in the spring.
Noguera said he expects more light industrial warehouse spaces to pop up as well as more medical offices and mixed-use space.
“I see more light industrial warehouse flex space coming, I see more medical offices coming, I see mixed-use development coming.”
Cape Coral resident Nancy Garcia said she remembers, back in the 60s, when Pine Island Road was nothing but dirt. She said she is excited about the new development – but not the traffic.
“Mondays and Fridays, the backup starts at about 3 o’clock and it starts way down on Tamiami,” Garcia said. “You reach the point where you wonder if you’re ever going to get where you’re going.”
Garcia said she tries to avoid Pine Island Road often.
Noguera said the new developments will also come with new traffic mediation measures.
Regardless, for Cape Coral resident Barbara Bucko, having so many businesses close by is convenient.
“I went to Lowe’s and I went to Michael’s and now I’m at Publix … all on one side,” she said. “We need it.”