The possible future of a North Fort Myers shopping center

Published: April 30, 2021 5:34 PM EDT
Updated: April 30, 2021 6:05 PM EDT

A shopping plaza in North Fort Myers doesn’t look like very much right now but there could be a new plan for it.

It could be a rough road to change this into something new. There are already new businesses around and people use it as a cut-through road from U.S. 41 to Pondella Road. That is if they don’t get their cars stuck in one of the potholes.

Sue Stansky is a hairstylist at Deb’s Cut ‘N Loose. “Well, when you’re sitting there, and you have clients in the salon and a rat comes running out…that’s a good sign you need to get out of there,” Stansky said.

They left the rundown shopping center, Hancock Bridge Square Shopping Center, where Stanksy and her boss Deb styled hair for years.

The bigger stores saw what was happening and cut their losses then they ran while the salons stuck around.

“There was a new owner that had purchased the mall from Miami, they did not maintain, gave Debby a big story ‘oh we’re gonna keep it up, we’re gonna get stores in here, you’re going to see a difference.’ But no, it got worse,” Stansky said.

So, the salon finally got up and got out too. The commissioner for this district, Brian Hamman says the owner of that property, Luis Dominguez, met with him and showed him some plans. However, no action yet.

“The property owner who doesn’t even live here doesn’t appear to care about our community at all. He doesn’t take care of his property. And it’s really holding the rest of North Fort Myers back,” Hamman said.

“I think it’s a shame,” said Commissioner Hamman.

Hamman added that the owner of this plaza has racked up more than $40,000 in fines but it hasn’t been enough to make a difference.

He also said that eminent domain does not function the County to just take over the property for economic development reasons.