Midtown is taking shape, as new plans are unveiled to possibly bring thousands of new residential units, commercial space and reserved public space to the area. The latest proposal aims to transform the Fort Myers neighborhood from the location of just a few hundred residents and businesses into a vibrant urban center, connecting up with downtown.
Recently, leaders officially presented the Midtown Vision Plan in a city council workshop. Referred to simply as a “vision plan”, the proposal calls for more than 4,000 residential units, five acres of public space and upwards of 650,000 square feet of commercial office space.
More specific details outlined in the plan include designing up to 14-story high buildings, plus adding in more than 1,600 public parking spaces and more than 5,100 private spaces. As well, the plan calls for designing a town center.
It additionally calls for the long-term investment of private and public dollars, hoping to attract millennials and those who simply want to get rid of their daily commute. Supporters say they recognize the need of some downtown workers who can’t afford the high residential costs, but may be enticed by a less expensive option just a short distance away.
While connecting midtown to downtown, leaders say it’s additionally important to ensure that both neighborhoods stay unique. It’s an ambitious plan that’s been in the works for years, with new ideas aimed at giving the space outside of downtown and the River District the recognition it deserves, while at the same time boosting the city’s tax base.
In the meantime, proponents are seeking more input from area residents on what they want to see in a newly designed Midtown neighborhood. Already some have voiced the need for more green space while others question how tall buildings in the area should be. Another public presentation is planned before the proposal goes up for a vote.