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Frank D'alessandro; Market Watch
Big projects point North Fort Myers to growth
Originally posted on March 12, 2006

Last week we explored the growth potential of North Fort Myers, which appears to be one of the next Lee County communities poised for explosive development. Let's take a look at some of the specific projects under way or being planned.

Paradise Preserve is a new waterfront community centrally located between the Midpoint Memorial Bridge in Cape Coral and the Hancock Parkway Bridge in North Fort Myers. The $591 million golf and yachting community spans 200 acres in Cape Coral and 272 acres in North Fort Myers.

"We were looking for a town-center concept," said Darin Smith, CEO of Cornerstone Investments, the developer of Paradise Preserve. "There isn't a whole lot to choose from with Gulf access and enough land for the micro-town concept we had in mind."

The gated community will include its own post office, private beach, bowling alley and movie theater, among other amenities.

Paradise Preserve will consist of 1,156 condo units and coach homes, including three towers as high as 24 stories. Construction began in November for infrastructure and utilities, and the site for the high-rises has been cleared. Construction of the first tower is scheduled to begin May 15 and will take approximately 22 months to build.

Northeast of the Paradise Preserve site is the 310-acre Moody River Estates off of Hancock Bridge Parkway. This residential community by Meritage Homes offers a park-like estate setting with an Old Florida feel, with about 1,100 single-family, coach and carriage homes when the final phase is completed. The first offering is sold out, though resales are on the market now.

Further east on Hancock Bridge Parkway is the North Star Yacht Club, a new 12.5-acre development on Beau Drive that will include two 13-story buildings overlooking the Caloosahatchee River and downtown Fort Myers. Each building includes two parking levels and 85 condominium units, and the community also includes a marina with 57 boat slips. Construction is under way and completion is estimated for summer 2007.

Kinsey Associates and the Enclaves Group are sharing costs and land on a 78-acre retail center and residential community at Coon and Donald Roads, just south of Bayshore Road. The developers are currently seeking zoning approval to move forward with the project, which will include 100,000 square feet of commercial space and 270 housing units.

Kinsey is also developing a Walgreens-anchored 30,000-square-foot retail plaza at the southwest corner of Bayshore Road and Slater Road.

"I knew that Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers was one of the last major corridors to undergo the push for development," said Jim Kinsey, president of Kinsey Associates. "I wanted to be on the front edge of that growth. We centered on Bayshore Road and Slater Road for the central location between U.S. 41 and Interstate 75."

Kinsey sold part of his property on the south side of Bayshore Road to KB Home, the national home builder that is constructing a 214-unittown home community known as Bayshore Commons.

"North Fort Myers is a great location," said Cara Kane, director of public relations for KB Home. "It is a desirable area in close proximity to beaches, U.S. 41 and I-75." Kane said the new town homes will be released to the market this summer.

These projects demostrate the tremendous growth taking place in the North Fort Myers community, and their success will pave the way for more opportunities in the future.

— Frank D'Alessandro is a real estate broker with D'Alessandro & Woodyard Inc. Commercial Realtors. Readers may contact him via e-mail at fdalessandro@dw-cr.com or by calling (239) 425-6000.

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