The Salty Crab on Estero Boulevard was totally destroyed by Hurricane Ian. The property on which the popular restaurant once sat is now being used by the Margaritaville developer to stage equipment and vehicles.
The owner of the Salty Crab property has now submitted a pre-application with the town to rebuild. A pre-application is the earliest of stages toward a build. The paperwork is submitted to town staff to get feedback from staff on a proposal. It allows a developer to make adjustments if needed before submitting a full-blown permit application to build. The property is located at 1154 Estero Boulevard immediately next to Margaritaville’s Lah De Dah bar and restaurant on the beach side of Estero.
Clownfish Restaurant Holdings owns the property and Salty Crab General Manager Bruce McElhone told us in November that, while they did hope to rebuild, the town requirement of 15 parking spaces halted their plans.
The pre-application includes a two story (which is what it was before) 13,000 square foot structure with indoor and outdoor dining again.
The pre-application submitted to the town asks for relief from that parking requirement. Prior to the storm the Salty Crab did not have any parking spaces and was a thriving business in the downtown district.. The town also recently gave a parking variance to The Whale so they could proceed with their rebuild. That appeared to give Salty Crab ownership hope the parking issue could be overcome.
Town Council and LPA members have all admitted the parking space requirements in the downtown district will most likely need to be changed, especially if they want Fort Myers Beach to become more of a walkable and bikeable island.