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A GRAND PRODUCTION: The public will have access to the theater, art galleries, shops and café, but the artist studios will remain private sanctuaries for Shell Point residents to create.

The new creative hub at Shell Point Retirement Community gives residents plenty of space to let their inner artists play. “The purpose of the new Tribby Arts Center is to nurture the creative spirit and engage the mind,” says Martin Schappell, Shell Point president and CEO. “We saw the increasing value these programs brought to resident life and wanted to provide a center that would allow all of the groups to come together in one dedicated space that would encourage and enhance their creative experiences.”

The $25 million property opened in February as a dedicated space for creative activities Shell Point residents have enjoyed over the years. It boasts nine visual, performing and literary arts studios, plus rotating art galleries, a shop and a café. The two-story, 44,000-square-foot facility flaunts an asymmetrical design by Chris Lee, principal architect and president of Southwest Florida-based Christopher J. Lee Architects Inc. “The asymmetry presents different perspectives as you move around the building,” Lee says. “It creates nice visual images of balance and composition the more you engage around the site.”

The contemporary-style building sets the tone for an industrial interior designed by Wegman Design Group, with white and black accents warmed by oak. Amber Caton, senior designer at Wegman Design Group, explains, “We really wanted to create this clean and modern environment to act as a backdrop for all of the artists working in this space, but we also wanted to have features that would really inspire them.”

Designers opted for a custom terrazzo pattern to match two kinetic sculptures from Washington artist Andrew Carson in the atrium, and an awning with clean black lines to play up the slight French feel of the first floor Tribby Café. With input from the residents, the facility is just as functional as it is fancy. “We really wanted to make sure they felt heard, and we provided a space that worked really well for them,” Caton says.

Creating the large-scale venue called for a lot of communication; Lee called it a collaborative integrated team design approach that really carried through both inside and out, as exemplified in the 400-seat theater called Connie Brown Hall. Lee worked with two sets of specialists—theater design consultants TSG Design Solutions and architectural acoustical design consultants Siebein Associates Inc.—for the right sound setup in the multipurpose room.

“[It] has fantastic acoustics, great sightlines and the capability to offer major musical and theatrical productions,” says Michael Weiss, fine and performing arts manager. The public is invited to check the theater out for themselves when Shell Point hosts its annual concert series in November.


Tribby Arts Center at Shell Point Retirement Community

15101 Shell Point Blvd., Fort Myers

Shell Point is the largest single-site continuing care retirement community in Florida, and the second largest in the country, with 2,500 residents and more than 1,100 employees, according to the company.


Project Partners

Architect: Christopher J. Lee Architects Inc., Fort Myers

General Contractor: Gates Construction, Bonita Springs

Structural Engineers: Liebl & Barrow, Fort Myers

Mechanical/Electrical Engineers: Energy Concepts of Southwest Florida, Fort Myers

Interior Designers: Wegman Design Group, Naples

Theater Design Consultants: TSG Design Solutions, West Palm Beach

Architectural Acoustical Design Consultants: Siebein Associates Inc., Gainesville

Landscape Architects: Stantec, Naples Site/Civil Engineer: Hole Montes, Fort Myers


Photos Courtesy Tribby Arts Center

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