The future looks promising for North Fort Myers as county leaders turn their attention towards driving new development to an area that has mostly been bypassed in recent years. As developers continue to add to a revitalized Downtown Fort Myers, attracting new homebuyers, retailers and restaurants, the focus is now on bringing that same excitement to the other side of the Caloosahatchee River.
North Fort Myers encompasses more than 50 square miles of land and two miles of water, with upwards of 39,000 residents, many of them at least 65 years old. Proponents of redevelopment are hoping not only to revitalize the area for those residents, but also bring attention and draw in business from surrounding areas.
In the process, county leaders are doing what they can to lure new development to the area, which many believe can be accomplished with the privately owned waterfront area. While the Downtown Fort Myers waterfront is sealed off by public parks that’s not the case in North Fort Myers, an area some see as ripe for developers to come in. As well, supporters are banking on all the drivers coming to the area via US 41 and Business 41.
Lee County officials are also looking for public input on what area residents want to see and hundreds have already submitted a response. Some business owners in the area, too, are putting money into their North Fort Myers properties already, providing an investment for the future. There are success stories happening too, like the popular Three Fishermen Seafood Restaurant, located right along the Caloosahatchee River.
The city does sees some challenges, how to redevelop an urban environment while still supporting its suburbs and protecting the area’s natural beauty and resources. While new retailers may not be the answer many do support the addition of mixed-use development and hope for more success stories to speak of in the near future.