The public is invited to attend an open house to view plans to redevelop the 3.5 acres of land at 130 Connecticut street. The plan includes an 8-story condo tower with a parking deck, 36 workforce housing apartments, and a church that seats 500.
The open house is Thursday, May 25th from 3PM to 6PM. Beach Baptist Pastor Shawn Critser says the 36 work-force housing apartments would be managed by the church. They would rent for about $1,500 to $2,000 per month with a goal of recruiting families with kids that live and work on the island. Critser says he’d like to recruit enough families to bolster the Beach School enrollment by 50 to 60 kids.
The open house on the 25th will be the first opportunity the public has to see the plans. Critser and his investor team would have to go through the same process we are now watching the Moss Marina team go through.
The first step is to get a feel for what the community thinks and what adjustments to the plan might need to be made, before going to the town government agencies for any zoning changes. Right now the property is zoned Institutional and there are neighborhoods close by. How those neighbors feel about a project this big will certainly be a topic of conversation on the 25th.
Fort Myers Beach Town Councilman Bill Veach has been a huge proponent of workforce housing, however, he also lives close to that area.
Beach Baptist Church, like so many other structures on Fort Myers Beach was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ian.
10AM STORY UPDATE: The condo units up front would be a separate entity, not owned by the church. About half of the 3.5 acre property would be turned over to a developer. The developer would then build the new church and workforce housing units and turn both over to the church free and clear, in exchange for that space. The church would then be able to operate its current and future ministries debt free. The church was an uninsured property and there would be no way for them to build back anything without help.