Indiana Company Wants to Build a Mobile Vendor Park


Empire Holdings out of Indiana has submitted a rezoning application to construct a Mobile Vendor Park on Estero Boulevard across the street from where the old town hall once stood.

At one point the property did have a restaurant on it. Over the years the site was home to The Holmes House, Smittly’s on The Beach and The Mucky Duck. There has not been a restaurant on the property since 2006. The 4 parcels on the property are now vacant after two homes on these lots were destroyed by Hurricane Ian.

The 4 family members that make up Empire Holdings would like to amend the existing CPD on the property, which allowed two residential structures and a previous restaurant, to allow for mobile vendors, transient merchants, outdoor seating, a recreation area, and a parking lot.

Empire Holdings is being represented by The Neighborhood Company.

The application, which is now in the hands of town staff, states that the existing CPD on the property allows for a maximum of 23,067 square feet of floor area, consisting of 9,952 square feet of commercial and office and 3 residential units. The property owners say they do not feel now is the right time for the previously approved development but do feel they could provide a benefit to the island through this type of development.

The application goes on to say that, “The interim uses would exist until such a time as their ultimate goal of either redeveloping the property as previously approved or further amendments based on the evolution of the town’s redevelopment effort.” The pitch from the applicant is that this would be an interim setup “while the town recovers.”

The proposal calls for 6 vendor spaces, 60 outdoor seats and 43 parking spaces. The hours of operation would be 7AM to 10PM. The entertainment would be limited to amplified acoustical solo and duo acts.
Because of the rezoning requests being made this proposal would need to go before both the LPA and Town Council once staff reviews the application, provides the applicant additional input, and makes a recommendation to the LPA.


  1. Island was looking into nodes/centers throughout the island. This seems to fit into that theme. Like the tiki idea. Or sail shades. It does rain and gets hot. Mojoes used to be all shaded now tables and umbrellas doesn’t have the same vibe. No ambience. Give this place some ambience. Planters, color, etc. ZERO PARKING NEEDED. Bike racks only. Walk here. This will cut down the traffic of cars. Be strict about ticketing cars parking on side streets. Mango street is terrible with the Heavenly Biscuit food truck being on the street. With Sandy Bottoms now open, no place for cars. This a very bike/walking island.
    Resident of FMB

  2. With a home very close to this site, I do not like the idea of rezoning for a food truck park. I prefer to listen to the waves in the evening, not live music and crowds. I agree with those who say keep this type of business on the north end. Or, if the south end residents want to see more progress, move it down there.

  3. No. As a resident I want to go to inside dining for the nine months of summer. For me it’s no fun eating in the heat and rain. Not a fan of food trucks.

  4. hmmm.. good idea for the land owner.. do something to generate some revenue while the wait for a change over in Council in order to build a 15 story condo…

  5. BTR should ask all who comment comment to state if they are a resident on the island or off island or out of state. So many out of staters comment what they want as a TOURIST!! We are a residential island community and big business is not what we want!!!!!!!

  6. I say do it at Santini Plaza. This way snowbirds, have something to do that doesn’t involve sitting in traffic to Times Square.

    • Doesn’t have to be either/or, as small as the project is, there’s room for multiple developers to do similar kind of stuff up and down the Boulevard.
      IF they can get hassle free approval……

  7. The only other option is to leave it vacant and we would end up with a blight on the beach just like what we had on the north end for years and years (and yearssss…). Might as well use it for something useful until some redevelopment can start.

  8. Mid Island is residential. We like it to be as peaceful and quite as possible. My vote is to keep this stuff on the north end of the Island.

    My opinion it that of a resident that lives on the Island. Less is best. Less tourist, less cars, less big buildings, less noise, etc.

    • You might want to look into moving to Sanibel, which is more reclusive. Residential and commercial growth is coming to FMB whether we like it or not. I, living on the south end, look forward to commercial development both on the south end and mid island, that reduces the need to go north.

  9. Lose the parking lot completely and add a bar/tables under roof (tiki). It does rain here from time to time and this picture shows nowhere for people to go when it does.

  10. Never Good when you can’t call something by its name ?
    Food Truck park is below folks ? but call it a mobile vendor park or a neighborhood gathering and people are all for it – something like this is viable but only seasonal and short term- there isn’t and never has been enough residents or Guests to support these businesses year round -and during season road is packed so not sure why or who is driving there ?
    Trolley service is perfect for this seasonal Food truck court –
    All these developers should talk to people b4 LPA and Town council –
    Let’s get rid of the middleman , behind the scenes crap and present directly to people and then deal with Town and lpa- right now everything is half baked, half the truth , behind the scenes and NO sunlight- it’s disgraceful the conflicts of interest and back room dealing before the residents have a say needs to end –
    We need transparency and sunlight unless of course there is something to hide –
    END ALL EMERGENCY nonsense and return to regular order – small group trying to speed up and force thru things isn’t in best interest of island or residents long term or short term.

  11. Nope sorry. That property is not big enough for this proposal. Overflow parking on chapel and cottage will happen. This is a residential area, let’s keep it that way please. This would mean no privacy for us at night. I sit outside to listen to waves and if this development happens, that’ll end 😢. I agree with Randy. This should be closer to Times Square where most of the people are.

    • People on the “north end” are also a community and we DO NOT want commercial in our neighborhood. Commercial and residential must remain separate albeit the south end or north end!!!!!!

  12. Like this idea. New and different. Would need amber lights. Could lead to more paper and trash on beach.

  13. Hmmmmm. I really like this idea. It would give the mobile restaurants a place to go when eventually their lot/lease expires due to a rebuild of brick and mortar.


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