Property Owner Pitches Merchant Plaza Idea

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Dan Myers and his family own four residential properties and one commercial lot on Fort Myers Beach. Myers has pitched a plan to the Fort Myers Beach Town Council for a “merchant plaza” at his commercial location across from Town Hall at 2500 Estero Boulevard.

Myers and his family lost all four Fort Myers Beach homes they owned on the island. Prior to the storm they were working on a proposal to build a Family Entertainment Center on the vacant lot at 2500 Estero Blvd, a 15,000 square foot building that included duckpin bowling, axe throwing, putt-putt golf, an arcade and a restaurant. . Myers says that is no longer feasible because the bulk of their money is being used to replace their homes on the beach, and preserve their now 5 bare lots.

In a letter to the Town Council Myers has come up with a plan for the commercial lot that he says will help merchants and restaurants preserve their identity. “After considering the current needs of the island, we came up with what we feel is a “quick” solution for our loved island businesses. We have developed a “merchant plaza” concept. This would consist of a central location of local businesses and restaurant/food trucks to operate on a long-term, although temporary, basis. This could allow a place for small businesses and restaurants to remain on island and help preserve the character of the FMB we all know and love, as we rebuild our island home. We do not envision pop up tents and collapsible tables, but rather trucks and trailers, and organized layout, picnic tables and sunshades. We also would form a plan for trash removal and daily site maintenance.”

Myers says the positive benefits to his plan are:
1. A simple concept that requires no structures or lighting – Turtle friendly!
2. Everything can be swiftly removed or secured if severe weather dictates.
3. Priority would be given to FMB merchants displaced by Hurricane Ian, or construction
on their current site.

Myers says his family loves Fort Myers Beach for what it was, and what it will become. “We wish to maintain its uniqueness and small-town charm. We feel this concept will help revitalize our island, and offer an affordable option to our local small business owners trying to recover and stay open. This also offers a solution to perhaps build back on an accelerated time line for some, continuing to operate while they are simultaneously rebuilding.”

Reach out to Dan directly about his idea by e-mail at dtmyers11@gmail.com

16 COMMENTS

  1. We own 2 beach lots on cottage avenue right next to this empty lot. While we feel Dan’s offer to make his lot temporarily available to local restaurant businesses and food trucks is very generous, we are concerned about parking and increased traffic on the small streets of chapel and cottage. Where will the entrance be? Will it be directly off Estero? Also, will space be allotted for parking directly on the lot? Our concern is people will park on the side streets which will cause problems and bottlenecks for construction crews rebuilding our homes and our neighbors homes. Our rebuild/construction should start before the end of this year. Thank you

  2. Joe,
    The cost of land to own or rent divided by how many fish sandwiches or hamburgers, labor and cost of material would bring food/drink cost to such a price that businesses would not survive. It takes thousands of dollars a week income to make it here… for your information!!

  3. I think it’s a great idea and should be permanent! It helps our community get up and running sooner and has a very relaxed feel- just like our island! Look at how successful Naples’ food truck court has become- Celebration Park Naples (just off of 41, southeast of downtown.)

  4. As a 40 year resident of the area, and a fun lover, the biggest draw besides good food is an area for music and dancing, which includes a bar and service, with food. Many of us remember the hay day of Dock Fords and Naples Beach Club, Bonita could do well with a similar idea barring a parking problem. I’m not smart enough to solve that problem! I miss all of the area… back to Buckeye land Mike B.

  5. Great idea… mango st access has grown so much over the past few yrs it would sure be nice to have the food trucks there….especially since topps left 🌺

  6. Food trucks are not in any way carnival related. Number one they can be moved easily. If a hurricane happens, it provides many different avenues for people to eat in one location. It can be done right and be very advantageous to the island.

  7. I was on FMB for over 20 years but have moved to Bonita Springs. Bonita is currently building a permanent food truck park near our local downtown park. I’m hearing positive comments about it. Something to think about. Here are some details
    When completed, the project — named Rooftop at Riverside — will house eight independently-owned food trucks, each with their own utilities, and a two-story Old Florida style bar building with seating directly over the sidewalk overlooking Riverside Park.
    The property, purchased by the Magnus family from the City of Bonita Springs, will include more than 11,000 square feet of open courtyard space for dining and events; a 4,100-square-foot covered structure with deck and patio space for drinks and dining; 800 square feet of fireside patio dining; a 600-square-foot playground; and a mist wall “to keep us all cool in our warm, sunny Florida summers,”

  8. If this plan is temporary and for a period not to exceed 5 years, then I think it’s a great idea. If longer than that, I’m not in favor.

  9. The proposal is for a period of time – however -“”temporary””, as stated.
    Think it’s a wonderful idea –
    the need is there !!

  10. I don’t think food trucks would be an appropriate solution once the island has been rebuilt (2026 or 2027). These present more of a carnival atmosphere, in my opinion.

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