Times Square Preliminary Rendering Released

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Earlier this week, the Times Square Committee, which is made up of Times Square property owners, sent a preliminary rendering of a proposed new Times Square. The rendering was sent to several Town Council members and the Chamber of Commerce.

No additional detail was shared by the committee other than this one photo. There have been several attempts at a rendering but they have been reworked several times. There are several property owners involved and getting them to all agree on what to build has been a challenge.

When we posted the rendering on our Facebook page it received nearly 600 comments. The reaction was mostly negative from commenters who opined that the rendering did not give them much of a beach vibe feeling. Other concerns were about the lack of green space, that it looked too boxy, or that it needed more open space. Town Council members are just as frustrated as residents and visitors are that just getting a rendering out has taken so long.

One Times Square committee member posted the following statement on our Facebook page: “The rendering that was published by BTR is only a preliminary draft, myself and the other owners of Times Square and the Times Square committee are working tirelessly to create a vibrant entertaining and beachy community as we try to build back from the devastation please be patient with us as this project is much more difficult then it appears.”

As far as we know nothing has yet been shared with town staff for feedback. If the property owners do decide to work together on a concept they will most likely have to go through the CPD process as many other developers do. Of course, there are already rules on the books and any property owner can decide to rebuild on his own and move forward at any time.

Rebuilding Times Square is Not Going to Be Easy or Fast
By right, businesses in Times Square can now build structures three floors high. The picture floated around this week looks like 4 floors so that’s a discussion for another day. Property owners have to follow FEMA codes, DEP regulations and the town’s rules. Kitchen equipment and bathrooms would have to be about 17-19 feet up in the air. The town height limit in Times Square is 30 feet. From what we understand, that 30 feet would start to be counted at about 19 feet up. So, in theory, buildings could be 45-50 feet high in Times Square.

There is also the CCCL line to contend with. In the picture below, there are two lines. The red line closest to the gulf is the old line used as a setback line. The blue line closer to the bay side is the 1991 coastal line. Anything seaward of that blue line will now require a state DEP permit in addition to all other permits.

The Coastal Construction Control Line was developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 1990. The goal is to regulate structures and activities that can cause beach erosion, destabilize dunes, damage upland properties or interfere with public access. And while it’s not a hard no to get a permit from DEP seaward of the red line, it’s unlikely the town would grant one over that line, especially with FEMA watching every move the town now makes. And as you can see that red line cuts right through the old Pierside Grill property. 

The buildings in Times Square were grandfathered in after the DEP CCCL program took effect. For example, the building that Pete’s Time Out was in was built in 1955, 35 years before the CCCL program. Nothing in that area that needs to be rebuilt is grandfathered in any longer.

Each of the businesses will also have to figure out how to deal with ADA requirements. Are they all going to have their own elevator or work together somehow to save on customer space.

Every structure in Times square was either wiped out by Hurricane Ian or damaged beyond repair and eventually demolished. Some property owners sold immediately while others have their property up for sale now. We know for sure Pete’s Time Out and Plaka will not return. It’s unknown if Mango Rita’s would ever return, owners Jason and Jacinta did not own the building they were in and have been operating a hugely successful operation on 41 for over a year. The Dairy Queen property was purchased by Terry Persaud who also owns another strip of property on the beach side. Chris Primeau – and his family – own the La Ola property. It’s also unknown if Anita Cereceda would ever return to Times Square. She lost two stores in space she rented. We do know she’s planning to reopen a store in Santini Plaza.

 

52 COMMENTS

  1. What ever they do, do not use the beach as parking. That should be elsewhere. How about a parking garage combo shops, restaurants, condos near the bridge. This way the beach will be used for exactly that and not cars. And any business should be a good distance from the shoreline. Not like the old Pierside grill which was right up on the water.

  2. Wouldn’t be hard to just ho back to what was there. It kept the local feeling. Don’t need all that Muamu Beach feel.

  3. As a full-time resident of FMB, I prefer the minimal density possible in regards to development in Times Square or anywhere else on Estero Island. I wish City Leaders would stop focusing on attracting more crowds onto an already overcrowded barrier Island and rather focus on increasing the quality of life for the residents that already live here.

  4. Considering the codes this is what we think would be nice:
    All buildings in Times Square completly open on ground level so clear visibility to The Gulf.
    Seating only and bars on this level. Second level for kitchens, restrooms, possibly indoor seating, necessary storage, etc. No third levels.
    Think of the former Sunset Grill, old Junkanoo, Pierside and The Cottage views. Ahhhhhh 😎

  5. Todd – you are spot on.

    Food trucks – really? We park 30 food trucks in Times Square,
    throw up some tents and call it a day? If I want food trucks
    I can go to Backyard Social, Centennial Park, or Rooftop in Bonita.

    If I am coming to FMB I want shopping, bars, restaurants, air conditioning
    on those hot afternoons. Yes the beach, beach, beach. Of course we
    have a beach – just like every other coastal town in America and beyond.
    The beach is great – love it – but give me the rest. And not a
    sad collections of food trucks and tents. I can go to any flea market
    for that.

    Let me ask you all this – how is Margaritaville not “beachy”?? Have you
    been there? Sat down by the beach or up on the terrace? It’s amazing
    and the best thing going on FMB right now. Arches would be a GREAT
    compliment on the bay side – beautiful with all the amenities listed
    above. And how does building Arches make this Miami? It doesn’t.
    And use this opportunity the hurricane gave us to build Times
    Square in between.

    The Times Square rendering – this is a first draft – no color, just conceptual.
    This is not the final product. I hear a lot about traffic. Did you notice in the Times Square rendering
    all the elevated walkways and sky bridges? Great idea – separates most
    of the foot traffic from the street.

    Since the hurricane, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build
    something amazing on FMB. All new, all beautiful, all functional.
    It’s not 1972 and none of the old dingy buildings are coming back.

    • I think the Arches would also be an appropriate addition to Time Square. Much of our history was washed away. The interpretive signage and etched bricks also appropriate. But this is private property and totally up to the owners. But, to win the people’s approval wouldn’t a splash pad and the Arches be a great idea?

  6. Stop the trailer stuff they didn’t paid 8 million for a beach front property to put in trailers.
    Take a walk to margaritaville the 3 beach front restaurant/bar’s are what can be built and dream from there
    Help out on ideas because there’s not going to be a trailer park in times square

  7. Every time I see these ideas for TS, it stirs up the anger created by IAN!! I want the old TS back just the way it was. But then again, I want the Beatles to get back together. The owners of TS need to listen to the people that will support their businesses. Who wants a neurotic looking mall like TS? People want beachy, party, relaxing, sun soaked spaces. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD!

    • Yes – Beatles reunion! LOL

      Have you watched “For All Mankind”? One thing I enjoyed in the time-jump montages was the Beatles never split up and Lennon didn’t die. That alone made the alt-history series worth watching.

    • It’s time to move away from the Honky Tonk Times Square we use to have@ We need to move into the new era. Yes beach n water views are essential as is shopping stores n restaurants. We Do need tourists n visitors to survive. We need to get rid of the Food Trucks it only degrades this beautiful area. Let’s get moving on ideas on all come together to make this a beautiful Fort Myers Beach to brag about n let’s do it soon

  8. I just came down after 6 months absence and drove by London Bay properties and noticed the concrete height and wondering what was approved for total height?.What is the maximum # of stories?. Thanks

  9. I actually like this.
    Just want open air space under all building for a beach view/breeze and roof top bars.
    The town owns the road and can install landscaping beach vibe stuff

  10. There are beautiful Trailer ideas and will give room for landscaping. Another plus is that we will keep the beautiful view of the ocean when you are driving over the bridge

  11. The longer it takes to begin rebuilding the pier and Times Square , the more regular visitors FMB will lose. (see New Orleans) . People will find a different place to go and not come back. Get the damn pier started ASAP , incorporate Times Square into it similar to Fisherman’s Village in Punta Gorda with a beach vibe. Do not build a Naples North mall-like structure.

    • I’m so sorry that there is so much controversy. As a “regular visitor” in the late fall, (for over 25 years) it is so heart wrenching to see all of this…we have been looking a place to stay for a year now and we can not find anything that the average family can afford…😢 does anyone have any suggestions…this was our ultimate mind, body and soul place to come. We feel we are being forced to look elsewhere to go…Peace, Love, Prayers as you make such hard decisions…

      • Exactly where you are Patty! FMB is part of our family, but, as a middle class family we cannot possibly afford a Margaritaville, Pink Shell, Diamond Head….it is so frustrating, heart breaking, upsetting but I get all the rebuild codes, rules, etc. It’s just hard to face facts that many of us and our yearly trip to our paradise is lost no thanks to Ian.

        • Sadly there probably isn’t going to be much built that normal folks on vacation can afford..the older affordable hotels/motels are gone with Ian. It’s sad.
          Our family owned 2 places on the corner of Estero & Mango.. just 2 sand lots now for sale .. we can’t afford to rebuild with the new restrictions/codes , also the extremely expensive taxes.

      • Agree, a new chapter has begun and old FMB is only a memory. Our vacation spot for over 50 years is gone 🐬 Inn thanks for amazing memories and Silver Witch some great jewelry 😉 Best of luck to planning committee.

      • Yes, I have an idea, you have nothing to say as you are a visitor not even a resident of Florida. So keep your ideas to yourself. I’m sick of part timers trying to say what we should build here in our community.

        Stay home.

  12. This current rendering is horribly depressing. The trailer vibe feels right!! They are popping up all over the country. Thatched roof tiki bars would also add to the beach feel. 3 or 4 music stages spread throughout the area to keep the local musicians employed.

  13. The Building Density is Ridiculous for this tiny critical space –
    I don’t know one person who moved to FMB because of a Building or mass of buildings –
    The properties are over priced and the builders need to overbuild to make their money- all at the expense of FMB and its residents – we need to STOP the insanity – stick to density and height plans .
    How about we focus on quality of life and clean open spaces .
    Haste makes waste and these big projects need to be slowed down NOT fast tracked –
    Not one DEBRIEFING has occurred on Major road construction project , Margaritaville or any other significant project on Island – how can we learn and improve if we don’t go back and evaluate ? The 3 big projects on FMB since 2017 have produced zero learnings or accountability
    Margaritaville project , Estero Blvd project and handling of 2020 Faux Flu. Pandemic –
    Town Management is beyond lacking in most basic management skills .
    QUALITY of Life needs to be at forefront NOT massive decade of construction projects

  14. Maybe layering the buildings so the beach side are shorter, 2 levels plus rooftop restaurants and the other side is 3 levels so they can also have a view. It’s kind of bunched up looking and not beachy.

  15. I understand how Todd feels about trailers and I agree. that being said take a look at the size of that space. It’s tiny and shrinking every year due to erosion and rising sea levels. Probably would make more sense to make this like Celebration Park in Naples. Definitely need more open space and biking space than that rendering shows.

  16. I wonder if a simple change like making the roof multiple beachy colors to make it look more fun would make it more appealing?

  17. OMG no trailers. Looks like shanty town. Any development done will be scorned because it must conform to FEMA and code. Build it. And add lots of landscaping and trees. Something FMB did not have compared to other island towns.

    • Saying no to trailers, tells me you might not be aware of some of the nicer trailers and cool things you can to do around nice trailers to create a cool vibe. Using quality fixtures tables chairs and removable live greenery can be made to look elegant to the point it doesn’t occur to people that it is indeed a trailer. (Like there are prefabricated houses that look great and impressive that have been taken to a whole new level)

      • Trailers are trash. You don’t spend 8 million dollars and have a trailer. Step out of America for once in your life where architecture can be perfect for the beach. I did not buy property on FMB to have trailers. Go to North Ft Myers if you want that crap.

  18. Almost imposible to rebuild in such us small parcels with all current regulations and restrictions, the option is nice trailers like backyard social, and when a hurricane is coming removed the trailers and come back as soon as the storm pass. Use common sense

    • If nice trailers are put in time square it will create a more beachy effect.
      I’m for that. We could create a totally cool atmosphere unique to other places. We could do it in a way that it would be a tourist attraction.

      There is enough of these big box houses so close together on this skinny little island. Having nice trailers will at least be a contrast. Instead of adding to the concrete vibe.

      • Nobody with a food truck is going to pay the extreme cost to rent space from someone. They can’t carry enough food for an entire day of in season traffic. It’s impossible. They’d all be losing money in season and definitely out of season. It’s just not a doable option financially. They have their limits for storage and safe food handling.

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