New Myerside Resort Clears First Hurdle

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The Fort Myers Beach LPA, in a unanimous vote this week, approved plans for the new Myerside Resort. The 49-unit boutique hotel would be built on Estero Boulevard next to the Library. Here’s when construction might begin and the ribbon cut.

The first step in the process would be for two public hearings to be held before the Town Council. Those hearings will most likely take place June 3rd and June 17th. If the Town Council approves the project it will take approximately 8-10 months to acquire all the permits to start construction. Owner Beverly Milligan tells Beach Talk Radio if everything goes smoothly, after Town Council approval, construction could begin in late 2025 and take 18-24 months to build. That would peg the opening in the Summer or Fall of 2027.

The new Myerside Resort is one of the few new development projects that has received mostly positive feedback from the community (at least from the majority of people that follow Beach Talk Radio). A lot of that love has to do with the design. Even LPA members pushed owners Beverly Milligan and Rolland Weinmann to stick to the design they’ve been showing off to the community for the last year. LPA Chair Anita Cereceda said that the first time she saw the Myerside renderings it was overpowering. “But the work that your team did with the design of this project minimizes that impact dramatically.”

The LPA also praised the step-back approach to the construction as the building grows higher. It gives an added illusion that the building is not as high as it really is. And, height is a major concern for people on the island (along with added density). Milligan and Weinmann are asking for a little more height than what’s allowed in that area and more units (49) than they had before (14). By right today they are allowed 30 units.
From the ground to the top of the roof would be a total of 50 feet (4 floors), according to Ken Gallander of the Neighborhood Company, the company that designed the resort. By comparison, the Fort Myers Beach Library, which is yards from the Myerside property, is 59 feet (3 floors).
Even though from the ground to the top of the roof, the building would be 50 feet, it’s important to note that the way buildings are actually measurede is called “zoned height,” which is from design flood elevation to the mid-point of the roof. That’s to address FEMA requirements, which applies to everyone. The Myerside “zoned height” ask is 37 feet. In other words they are asking to go between 2 feet and 7 feet higher than what’s allowed in that area (30 feet). The reason they may only be asking for 2 feet as opposed to 7 feet is that the town code allows for an additional 5 feet if certain conditions are met, such as the step-back approach to the building.

The 53,463 square foot resort would include 45 resort units, and four 500 square foot live/work units. The resort would also include 9,000 square feet of retail space, including a 2,250 square foot restaurant, on the 1st floor. Nobody would argue that the island needs more retail space, especially post-Ian. And, the town code calls for 90 parking spaces for this proposed structure. Milligan and Weinmann are asking for a 30% reduction in parking, down to 60 spots.

The Myerside property has certainly evolved over the last 70 years.

Myerside Resort

Milligan and Weinmann have owned the 1.03 acre piece of property along School Street and Estero Boulevard since 2015. Before Ian arrived, The Cottages at Myerside consisted of 7 cottage buildings with a total of 12 units, a pool, tiki bar and volleyball court.

Before Milligan and Weinmann purchased the property it had a troubled reputation. It became a place law enforcement frequented, often for a variety of unsavory reasons. When they bought it, and fixed it up, the cottages attracted visiting families who made Myerside their annual vacation location. The troublemakers were gone and law enforcement issues ended.

A few years before Hurricane Ian, Milligan and Weinmann had big plans for more upgrades and renovations. After all, those cottages were originally built in the 50’s and 60’s. After lengthy battles with previous Town Manager Roger Hernstadt, that bordered on a personal vendetta against them, Milligan and Weinmann received approval from the Town Council to rezone their property from Residential Conservation to Commercial Planned Development. The council approved a master concept plan that protected the existing cottages and approved hotel, retail, and restaurant uses, including the consumption of alcohol. The intent of that CPD was to create a small boutique resort which ensured the preservation of the historic cottages while legitimizing existing non-conformities.

Then Hurricane Ian came through.
Only 1 of the 7 cottages is still standing.

Like many property and business owners on Fort Myers Beach it was time for a new plan.

The Town Council will take up the project in two public hearings on June 3rd and June 17th and we will carry both of those meetings live.

 

25 COMMENTS

  1. So I live close and love it. This is a good compromise on density vs needed profitability. I wish this site would identify full-time resident vs. part time or vacationer. Prospective would be good to understand. I loved what I bought many years ago and the island that went with it. And we don’t need skyscrapers, but given the fact that we have to go up so many feet before any useable, functioning space, we need to be lovers of progress not haters.

  2. Love, love, love the design. Finally some character added to these big boxes.
    As far as the retail space, please include a fresh produce store. We need some fresh veggies and essentials midisland. Tops is sorely missed!

  3. Can someone explain why the additional rooms were approved when that doesn’t align with code? This would still be a profitable resort even without the extra rooms. This is very disappointing.

  4. This is a beautiful design. I don’t agree with the density increase though. I know they promised public benefits like retail space for doc/dentist/chiro etc but I don’t believe that would happen. Think about it. Would you think it makes sense to go to margaritaville to see your dentist? Have they committed to any of our beloved service people (who left the island) to rent to them at a reasonable rate?

    • They couldnt even fairly pay the employees they had prior to Ian, u
      undercutting their pay. Should be reported to the BBB instead of trying to “expand.” In 2018 they were offering $14 to manage the property and clean rooms. Beverly doesnt know how to be a people person.

      • How do you think the Better Business Bureau has the ability to do anything — especially over an assertion of something from six years ago?

  5. Congratulations to Myerside Resort on the unanimous vote to move forward to rebuild Myerside Resort. Beverly and Rolland have worked hard and jumped many hurdles since 2015 and Pat Vanasse and Ken Gallander of the Neighborhood Company have designed an amazing plan for the future Myerside Resort.

  6. There is a huge difference between 30 units allowed by “right” and 49 proposed. Love the concept but maybe some compromise on the additional 19 units which is more than the original 14. I realize that rebuilding has to be financially feasible. Less parking is acceptable as is height but there needs to be density compromise

  7. Maybe FMB could come up with a way to “fast track” new builds given that so much rebuilding needs to happen in the next ten years?

  8. Why is LPA ok with the huge increase in density (over 60%) from what is allowed? Not sure if there is any public benefit that justifies the higher density and higher structure. Seems on surface a bad precedent. Will give London Bay lots of ammunition for their big ask (much higher buildings with large density increase).

  9. Good design matters! Congratulations to Myerside for jumping the first hurdle. Truly the most attractive project to come in front of the LPA since the storm.

  10. This is a MAJOR Milemarket along the path to the RENNAISSANCE of FMB. We now are getting some real traction for REBUILDING Businesses on the Island.
    Hats off to all those who put in the Hard work, Time and personal commitments on the LPA to see this thru.

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