More hotels coming to downtown Fort Myers; city council could approve parking deal

Published: April 29, 2021 5:25 PM EDT
Updated: April 30, 2021 6:25 AM EDT

A hotel building boom is underway in downtown Fort Myers.

In September, the Luminary Hotel and the Caloosa Sound Convention Center opened their doors.

And now, three more hotels are on the way.

The new and improved convention center, formerly Harborside Event Center, and the fact that people want to come to Fort Myers to enjoy the weather are driving the construction.

A new hotel is planned on an empty lot at the intersection of First Street and Jackson Street.

The AC Marriott is in the financing stages but has been given zoning approval to build an 8-story, 132-room hotel. It’s scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Two other hotels, a Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn, are further along.

“The hotels obviously provide the visitation where people will stay for one to three to five nights in the hotels and it ultimately makes more activities for businesses in the downtown area,” said David Fry, the property owner.

The hotel will also help boost the area’s ability to host large conventions at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center.

The city hopes the new hotel will serve as another hotel option if the Luminary Hotel, which is managed by Mainsail, is booked.

“Now it gives the Mainsail folks who are going to be managing that it gives them the flexibility to have multiple hotels to book people in so they can book a slightly larger event,” Fry said.

Fry said the AC Marriott is a “very clean and contemporary looking brand.”

He described it as “very minimalist, very efficient to operate but it looks luxurious.”

Five Place LLC, the group behind the construction, is hoping to strike a deal with the city. They want to lease 60 parking spaces in the Main Street garage near the proposed site for hotel staff and guests.

The group would pay the city a rental fee of $55 per space a month for the first five years of their 40-year proposal. Then, for the next 35 years, the rental fee will match what it is at that time.

“We are renting at market rate. That’s the deal that is on the table. We’re not getting a discount. We’re basically guaranteeing the city revenue for sixty spaces a month every month for forty years,” Fry said.

People downtown view the arrival of a new hotel as a sign that the area is thriving.

“More hotels, more small businesses is the American dream. I think it’s great because let’s face it, it’s a beautiful part of the country,” said Brian Gamble of Cape Coral.

“Everyone comes down on the weekends and Fort Myers is really booming,” said Marrikka Stocklin of North Fort Myers.

The city council will make a decision on the deal during their meeting on Monday.