Fireworks and construction. The 4th of July Fireworks returns this year, after a one-year hiatus to prevent the spread of COVID, and, a historic groundbreaking that will transform Fort Myers Beach that’s been 6 1/2 years in the making.
If not for two frivolous lawsuits filed by beach resident Chris Patton, financed by motel owner Bob Conidiaris, and an economy closing world-wide pandemic, the new Margaritaville resort may have been opening its doors in July rather than dropping the first shovel in the ground. This week, development company TPI gave an update on the project, which once it finally does begin, should take about two years to complete.
Opening an economy that has been locked down for a year does have its drawbacks. Pent up demand is one of them. Automobiles are selling like hotcakes and can’t be built fast enough to meet the demand, there’s a shortage of chicken to the point you may need to take out a loan to buy a dozen chicken wings. And, the price of lumber and building supplies has increased ten-fold.
The Margartivalle delay instigated by Patton and Conidiaris has increased the cost of financing along with construction costs for the project. All that aside, TPI is expecting to break ground in July.
As we edge closer to the 4th of July, you’ll see businesses on the TPI property starting to close down, such as the Mermaid, The Pierview Motel and the Lee County Sheriff’s outreach center. Fencing will be constructed with the Margaritaville logo and demolition of buildings will commence.
An acceptable financing term sheet is close to closing, nearly all permits needed are in hand and 95% of the project has been put out for bid.
As the work begins, the Canal Street beach access will remain open throughout the project but it will move around as needed.
Part of the complete face-lift of that area will include a redesign of the foot of the bridge to improve traffic flow on and off the island. Eventually there will also be two new traffic lights in the area as well. With so many moving parts, and so many entities involved in the various projects, the timeline is always subject to change.
If everything falls into place many Fort Myers Beach residents and vacationers just might be watching the 2023 fireworks celebration from one of 224 guest rooms or the 5,000 square foot ballroom that overlooks the water.