Beach Theater Owner Eyes New Restaurant

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Steve Boge, the owner of the old Beach Theater building at 6345 Estero Boulevard, has filed a pre-application request with the town looking for feedback on whether the town has any issues with him converting the building into a restaurant.

In the application Boge said he’d like to remodel the existing building with a lower level restaurant. He says the kitchen would be remodeled upstairs in the existing location, and he wanted to know if there were “any issues with a restaurant at this location given the movie theater has always had a full service restaurant / bar.”

The most interesting part of Boge’s pre-application is that he wants to turn the parking area under the building into seating for the restaurant. The application does not say if his idea is to close off the lower area or keep it open. The second level would also include a dining room and a bar.

If Boge moves forward this would be another test for the town to see how they want to deal with an application with a reduction in parking. As a movie theater, the property under the building was used for about 30 parking spaces. Boge would be eliminating that parking. Town code requires 8 spaces for every 1,000 square feet. With over 8,000 square feet on the second floor (not including the ground level), Boge would need about 65 spaces. If he eliminates ground level parking and adds a seating area, he’s left with about 35 spaces in his lot.

A pre-application meeting with the town helps applicants decide whether or not they should move forward on a project. Boge could decide, from his feedbaack from town staff, to move forward with his project as is or submit new plans with modifications.

Back in July, Boge filed a pre-application request with the town to construct a docking facility on the canal behind the building. It’s not clear yet if that idea is still in the works.

Back in February Boge was caught illegally removing mangroves from the town when a local resident snapped pictures and said she saw 12 dumpsters full of mangroves being hauled away. Removing mangroves without a permit is illegal. Boge owned up to the illegal act and had been working with the town and state to restore the mangroves.

The Beach Theater closed in May of 2022 when Boge purchased the building for $4 million. At the time he told us the building could be opened as a restaurant or it could be something completely different. He said the building allows for “broad zoning usage.”

Boge’s ownership group also purchased the 34-room Gulfview Manor Resort as part of the deal. The total for both properties was $19 million. Boge is also part owner of The Dolphin Inn and Palm Terrace on the beach.

 

20 COMMENTS

  1. I do so wish the movie dinner theatre would be back. Sometimes it gets old that you keep reading, the beach is changing, ..okay we all know that, but why cant we expect to have a movie dinner theatre. That was unique. The uniqueness doesnt ware out with change! Its a great attraction to a resort island. .

  2. I am all for eliminating parking spot minimum requirements for entire island. Let business’s figure it out (how many spots they need for workers and customers). Just make sure there are punitive large fines and quick towing for illegally parked vehicles.

  3. We would love to see a restaurant/bar area there if we can’t have our theater back. The south end desperately needs some options. We would walk to the theater and to Charlies and would love to have the option to do that again. I’m guessing a lot of the customers would be walking from all of the condos and homes in the area.

    • Yes, as long as they light up Estero Blvd again. We would walk to Santini and the Beach Theatre, but not in the nearly pitch dark.

  4. Would be awesome to keep as a dinner movie theatre at least 2 of the 3 screens. Was nice that it was something different and another fun unique to do! The structure itself with the pillars and former outdoor ticket booth was not your typical movies. Was nice not to have to go ofd island for a night out to the movies. Understand that things change but keeping some part of the movies and dinner and popcorn options would be awesome. Know many locals including myself who were there often!

  5. I don’t understand. Will it not be a movie theater? I so miss our movie theater. With all the streaming films we can watch from the sanctity of our homes, it sure was nice to step out to the Movie Theater once in a while. I really don’t care whether they have parking or not. Like I said before the more spaces the more traffic. I’ve never seen the outside lot full. Underneath yes. I also have to ask why anyone would want to put anything on a ground floor on FMB since the wrath of Ian? A restaurant would be nice, but not to replace all the screens for viewing.

  6. If they let the Whale eliminate parking, they have set a precedent that will be hard to argue against. He’ll be the one dealing with customers not being able to park to use the restaurant.

  7. No to less parking. We already had issues with the theater parking on the neighborhood yards, driveways and streets on a cold day when it was a theater. This would cause even bigger issues within the neighborhood.

  8. Mr Borge-
    I like the idea of a restaurant- people walking- Great.
    Ft Myers is changing- now is the time to Also change.
    A nice addition to the south end of the island- we All make mistakes – we learn from them- Mangroves need to go back-
    Good Luck!

  9. He has already broken the rules by illegally removing mangroves, which I’m sure he knew was a violation. Now he wants to remove parking spots against building requirements, just another builder looking to break rule after rule. Definitely not an asset for the island.

    • He absolutely knew removing the mangroves was illegal because he had them all removed between Friday evening and about 10:00 pm on Sunday, when he knew that the town officials would not be patrolling the streets. What other shenanigans will he pull to get his way?

  10. It would be cool if this were a dinner theatre. Restaurant and dinner theatre with live performances… Just a thought. All the best….

  11. I agree with Gili. Lessen the parking spots, we don’t need any more cars on the island, people can walk. I wish them all the luck for a new restaurant, but no dock. Put the mangroves back.

  12. Just like “the Whale” this future restaurant would get many customers walking from the condos, resorts, and beach so all those parking spaces will not be necessary. I hope it all goes smooth for Mr Boge. It would be great to have another restaurant on the south end.

    • We already had issues on a cold and rainy day with people parking in the neighborhoods surrounding the theater. Need to have adequate parking as there are no additional public lots near this location. This is also adjacent to low density residential neighborhoods. So, this is not the same situation as the whale. This will be hugely disruptive to the residents of these neighborhoods.

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