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Fenway South parking

With the Southwest Florida commercial real estate market running hot entering this year, the Boston Red Sox are looking to develop 20 acres of land at a prime location, according to Jonathan Gilula, vice president and chief operating officer of the organization.

The Red Sox paid Lee County $5.5 million in 2010 for the land between the JetBlue Park spring training stadium and Daniels Parkway in south Fort Myers. There are three parcels, including the section directly in front of the stadium and two parcels flanking it to the east and west. The county owns the land parcels behind and on the north side of Fenway South, using them for parking.

The Red Sox-owned front parcels also used for parking could be repurposed in the coming years. “We’re still actively pursuing commercial development,” Gilula said. “We’ve been exploring that for a number of years. We’ve been actively engaged with the development community.”

A hotel onsite with restaurants and shops is a possibility creating more of a year-round draw for the complex that plays host to youth baseball events during the summer and fall months while the Red Sox are playing their regular season in Boston.

Adam Palmer, a broker with LandQwest, said he isn’t currently involved with the Red Sox. The broker attended a recent Red Sox spring training game and said the area would be a prime spot for a hotel, restaurant and shops combo, explaining there were enough new and nearby rooftops to support something there year-round.

“The growth is heading that way,” Palmer said. “There would certainly be demand. There’s a limited amount of services between there and I-75 and that area. I think it would do well outside of spring. Obviously during spring, it would give people something else to do before and after the game.”

Other than the Publix at Skywalk shopping center that opened in 2017 near Gateway, there’s little commercial development in the corridor. “A lot of those residents are forced to travel west of I-75 for services,” Palmer said. “Usually when you have extra land, you use it for things you didn’t think of during the first-generation build.”

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