Island Icon Gives Thumbs Up to Red Coconut Proposal

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Fran Myers and her late husband Tom owned the iconic Red Coconut RV Park on Fort Myers Beach since 1984. On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian wiped out the park which was followed by Fran Myers selling the 10-acre property to Seagate Development one year after the storm for $52 million. This week we found out what Seagate wants to build on the property and Fran loves it.

Seagate CEO Matt Price unveiled Seagate’s plans for the property after 22 iterations of what they wanted to show the community. He says the proposal was a result of a lot of meetings with community members because he wanted to get a feel for what the Fort Myers Beach wanted. Those plans included input from Fran Myers who, when she saw the final product said, “I was pleased to see how much thought went into their development plans. It looks beautiful.
Price unveiled pictures and details about the proposed development on Beach Talk Radio Wednesday (Watch that interview HERE). The plan includes 2 buildings that are home to a total of 137 condo units, 4 single family homes, 3 parks, a restaurant open to the public, a 240 foot view corridor on the beach side of the property, a pedestrian walkover and a beach club for residents. Myers said she was happy to see how much of the beach side property would remain open with views of the beach from Estero Boulevard.

While Seagate will be asking the town for a deviation for height, they are under the amount of units they are allowed to build on that property by right. At 10 acres, Seagate is allowed to build 15 residential units per acre for a total of 150 units. They are proposing 141 units.

And while there’ no doubt a lot of the upcoming discussion about the project will most certainly be focused on the height of the condo buildings, an alternative for 150 units by right could have been a lot of smaller buildings with less of a view corridor.

Based on the current plan, the first layer of one of the buildings is 9 stories over parking and is setback 70ft from the right-of-way. The next layer is 14 stories and is set back 165 feet. The top layer is 15 stories over parking and is set back 257 feet. The second building is set back 346 from the right-of-way.

Price says the next step is to have a meeting with the community to show off his plans and get feedback from residents. The date and location of that meeting will be announced soon. In a perfect world, a groundbreaking would be held in a year and this project would take 2 years to build.

72 COMMENTS

  1. I pretty much agree with most of the other comments in that we need to make reducing traffic the primary consideration before approving any variations to building codes. The Island was overpopulated before hurricane Ian. We should take advantage of the post-Ian rebuild to build toward what was envisioned when the city incorporated.
    I live on the Island and have owned my home since 1998. More tourism on the Island is not a benefit to me. Large ugly buildings are not a plus. More parks, opens space and a free boat ramp I would support.

  2. I own a house on the Island. We decided to build on FMB pre Ian because of the charm and all the bar/restaurants that you were able to go to beach side. That’s what drew us to this area. After Ian my fear was that this Island/Beach is going to turn into Miami with a bunch of High Rises. I sure hope this dosent happen. After this past season with not even full capacity I think they need to figure out the traffic concerns long before they even think about putting up high rises.

  3. There is ample property to build the number of unit they have by right horizontally rather than the proposed high rises. The 3 parks are not a public benefit in my opinion to justify the high rises. I’m not looking for a view corridor to the preserve.
    The high rises are a business objective given that construction costs are lower building fewer taller structures.

  4. I agree on most of the above. I do have a condo at the Creciente and had stayed at the Red for many years beer the condo.

    Developers have bought up our beach. Mville is just the tip of the iceberg. Best said, make the sand and gulf available to all.

  5. Also, if this is approved, can you imagine what Terry Persaud will propose for the former junkanoo property!!!!!!!

  6. Ok Ed, I would think that good journalism would state in the article, EXACTLY what height variances each building needs. There are lots of high rises mid and south island. What heights does code currently allow at each and what is each buildings excess height. IF it’s in there and I missed it, I apologize

    • Since incorporation in 1995 we have a 3 story height limit in all areas without getting variances or CPD’s. The taller buildings were built or had approval prior to becoming a Town. And we have held that for 30 years , ALMOST

  7. This is preposterous- stick with the Comp plan – ditto with the outrigger .
    We need hotels (within comp plan) NOT multi million dollar McMansion CONDOS- more than Doubling comp plan and 10 times the height of previous structure –
    Citizens are what make a community – Not buildings
    Wake up Town council –

    • “Stick with the Comp Plan” LOL

      Did you miss BTR’s post this afternoon:

      Folks….
      It’s important to explain something to those of you commenting “stick to the Comp Plan” every time you see a tall building. Sticking to the Comp Plan does not mean only approving 3 stories. Within the town’s Comp Plan and Land Development Code is something called a CPD (Commercial Planned Development). That process gives every developer the right to ask for more than what they can build by right. It doesn’t mean the developer will get what they ask for – or anything more than what they can build by right. It does give the LPA and Town Council some negotiating leverage to get some “public benefit” in return (And honestly it’s comical at times to see what some developers try to pass as public benefit). But you should understand that when the LPA and Town Council voted unanimously twice to stick to the Comp Plan and LDC it was not a vote for 3 stories. What this all means is you need to go to public comment at the LPA meetings and Town Council meetings and get involved. Commenting “Stick to the Comp Plan” is not getting involved. Getting involved now is more important than ever before.

      • “Public Benefits”…
        I’m a public resident. What benefits will the resorts offer me? I’m really hoping for free gasoline for that I burn sitting in traffic. After more than a decade here this year was the worst. On Good Friday I drove/sat for an hour to attend an engagement . After realizing I wouldn’t make my intended appointment, I turned around and was home in 1 minute. I left home 1-1/2 hours early thinking I might make my destination in time. Yea… tell me and the other true residents of this island what benefits we might expect.

        • Curious dean did you move to a barrier island in Florida where people vacation or did you grow up your entire life owning the home you live in?

          • Ive been trying to figure out what that has to do with anything. I wasnt born in the house that i live in but I was behind incorporation to hold the line on development. And residents greatly outnumbered vacation rentals at that time

  8. My guess is that if this goes through Margaritaville will have their attorneys on speed dial, if they couldn’t build the height they wanted why would another developer be able to? To even consider it. If Seagate has all this money to invest in purchasing the property, don’t they have a couple thousand more to invest in landscaping/cleaning up the property? I live right down the street from the former Red Coconut and the property is a mess, coconut trees need to come down, others needs to be trimmed, there has been a wheel barrel and a storage tub filled with things sitting on the property since the storm, there is old fence material, electrical wires hanging all over and orange fencing material wrapped around a tree. This company must not take much pride in the property they own.
    Charles P, no tourism? were you not here this past season when some days San Carlos Blvd was backed up to Summerlin Road? Most days traffic was backed up to Pine Ridge, took over an hour to get on the island and an hour to get off the island. If that’s not tourism I don’t know what is.

    • I’m not as worried about Mville as much as Neptune, Moss, Outrigger, Wyndham and other large parcels. But hell, LPA approved a 60% density increase for Myerside. 49 units on an acre

  9. Always Loved Fran and Tom Myers..happy for Fran she got $52 million after all her loss..but as a 47 yr taxpaying resident of FMB. I think reminding us that Fran gave the thumbs up to this project is an insult to our intelligence..and why can’t you developers abide by the rules set forth for our beautiful island? I only hope the Town council will follow the rules and stop being so influenced by BS

  10. Thumbs down on the inital plan shared. Red Coconut means so very much historically to our community. ❤️🌴 This plan needs more community benefit other than a valet parked restaurant /and park(s) and a walkover. Benefits such as a Beach access given to the Town of FMB similar to what Margaritaville gave with “Wastin’ Away” possibly “Red Coconut Way” ❤️ Give public access to not just another restaurant (be it Gulfview) but to the most important public asset of all, our BEACH. Beach access Parking including ADA handicap beach parking and blue beach mat walkout consistent with other FMB beach access points. Red Coconut history and the future of the property could be enjoyed by all by adding this public benefit. 🌺🌴❤️

  11. Fran received $52million for “Red Coconut”! Why does BTR even care what she thinks??
    As far as Seagate and the rest of these developers who need variance increases to build their residential Towers and commercial space, How about funding a “Mid-Island Bridge from Publix to Tamiami Trail” and widening Estero Blvd., if that gets done then you variances are approved! If this doesn’t happen then Estero will become a Parking Lot!

    • “Mid-island bridge” hahaha.

      LeeCo owns Estero Blvd; it’s really not possible to widen it. Even if it were, it would just increase the number of lanes with stopped traffic during season.

  12. Bottom line effect will be the traffic! With having been a traffic control contractor for over 50 yrs. my thinking is when all these high rise buildings are built the nightmare will be the traffic!! we thought it was bad before Ian, just wait! Estero is only a two lane road, there needs to be more ingress/ egress. It may be quite expensive to build it, but pay now or much much more later?

  13. Reading these comments are hysterical, let’s just keep FMB back in the past! Let’s not move forward, progress is so overrated, we love the way the island looks now! No need to change a thing, just keep in mind no progress, no tourism coming back…..eventually we will become a ghost beach town!

    • I don’t interpret the comments that way. It sounds more that people want to move forward according to the rules we have in place.

      Why can’t these corporations save time and money by submitting plans within our comprehensive plans. They purchased the land knowing the limits. I am sure they have plans ready to go that are within these limits. Or else why would they put out so much money on property they can’t build on. It seems like a high pressure situation.

    • I dont believe that the Beach will shrivel up and blow away because overbuilt projects are denied. what I find hysterical is the support from tourists and snowbirds so that they have a tiki hut and restaurant to visit. It seems like residential building is coming along fine.

  14. I am not a resident but I have been coming down for decades to FMB. I appreciate & consider the views of those that live on the island. As an outsider looking in, what I like about it is the ability to see the gulf from Estero Blvd. Prior to Ian, you would never know the gulf was there. Do I like the height? Nope. The old world lazy charm of FMB is what made us fall in love with the island in addition to it’s welcoming residents (and we were never down in peak times). that being said, they have 150 residential units that they are entitled to (via current rules). How would you feel if they flipped it? Put the highrises on the gulf front and then the greenspace and views of ?? on the back side? I do think a lot of thought went into this – they could have just stayed within the parameters that they had and provided no views to anyone, let alone a greenspace or restaurant. I for one would LOVE more restaurants near the south end of the island, as the north end is horrid going through in the afternoons. But again, I am not a resident. I’m not sure how to mix the old with the new but what I do know is that if it is not considered FMB will end up like Biloxi – so much blight still there from Katrina (which happened in 2005 – it’s nearly 25 years later.) If it were a perfect world the builders could satisfy everyone, but we know that that cannot happen. I wouldn’t want to be in anyones shoes in determining how to navigate all of this.

  15. Here we are again – it’s seriously mind boggling how these developers truly ignore and DISREPECT the LDC and the Town Comp Plan and forge ahead. Residents have their opinions, the ones “wanting” these projects obviously are not residents and obviously do not know -or- care about this small barrier Island. Stick to the guide lines – Town should be ok, say yes to one – opening a BIG can of alot of worms !

  16. More high rise condos means more traffic from January thru April…. boy, I can’t wait for that!!!
    I agree we need to move forwward as I am tired of looking at destroyed buildings!
    Town Council needs to go and give it back to Lee County!

  17. The bottom line is, we have a comp plan and a land development code and rules and regulations. If the council ignores our own rules, why have a council at all? Are they really needed? After all, the ONLY reason FMB incorporated was to halt large development. This council is selling us out. All 5 council members voted to keep the LDC and comp plan, including density and height in place, BUT they are selling out. You’re right Ed, they are lying to the public (you said this during your interview with Dan) None of them are for the residents. Even Dan Allers has said it’s a 3 legged stool with the residents being one of them, equally. We are a community with rules, our council needs to step up, stop playing quid quo pro with “what benefit will the developer offer the public”. This is the biggest crock of BS. Its quid quo pro and its finest, and this allowed the council to justify selling our island out!!!!!! Lee county would manage us better. And a fraction of the cost.

    • You are so right. While I can accept some level of increase for community benefit, 15 stories is way too much. Also the ever increasing proposals for private beach clubs is depressing.

  18. So moss marina is a bad idea but this is great and should be approved immediately?!? But wait there’s more coming with London bay etal.

  19. Does this community really need more high rise condo buildings? More traffic? The new Myerside hotel will be only a couple of blocks away.

  20. Floor area ratio (FAR) is the ratio of a building’s total floor area (gross floor area) to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built.

    I am actually okay with the condo height; it looks to be set back even behind the public restaurant, so they need to give an exception to the F.A.R., and this is where your ‘Height’ comes in. All other buildings in this project should not change the FAR. I wish there were some retail space; that’s where 7-11 comes in.
    The bottom line is if this project is a prelude to changing the FAR, future developers need to give something back to the town and the residents; clearly, this group has this covered

  21. I would also prefer if the buildings were not so tall BUT if they are allowed to build a certain amount of units anyways and the alternative is lower buildings that take up more width then we end up wall to wall buildings with no view corridors anywhere. I guess at least they are on bay side and the tallest are set back the furthest.

  22. Wow can’t wait to have such a great view of the high rise buildings .
    We actually live right next door.
    We hate out current view of the sun and was always wanting 6 extremey tall buildings (some higher than 250 ft high) to help block out our view sky and stars.
    Hopefully we can help pick out the color of the exterior since it will be blinding us nigt and day

  23. Build it. The town needs more luxury that brings in tax dollars to support better amenities.
    Sure more development may follow but the island has limited land to build something of this size. So just relax, this won’t be little Miami….

  24. This is a beautiful project that is a win win for the island and the developer. The setbacks are reasonable for buildings that tall. One item missing from the rendering is the beautiful remnants of the Junkanoo/Fresh Catch. Deny this project and we’ll have the blight of the Junakanoo, Wyndam, Dolphin Inn and more for years to come.

  25. I agree with all of the below. Also, no coconut tress should be removed on the beach and no mangroves should be removed on the bay side to make views for the 4 houses. Stick to code. PS…it is a beautiful project, except for the height.

    • The four houses are not really bayfront. Look at a map. They would have to clear the Matanzas Preserve. But with flood elevation the houses should look over the mangroves

    • Or maybe the current zoning is too “old”… if we don’t start giving a little, this island is going to remain as it is, overgrown and blighted.

  26. Well, it’s great news that Fran gives her “thumbs up” after selling for $52 million.
    I hope that town council gives a “thumbs down” to this plan.

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