Estero’s Corkscrew Road corridor poised for apartment boom

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The Corkscrew Road corridor between Interstate-75 and U.S. 41 is poised for some intense, multi-family apartment development over the next two years in the Village of Estero.

Three projects have either broken ground or will next year: Estero Crossings, Genova and The Colonnade.

Estero Crossings is a Stock Development project. Stock purchased 42 acres on the south side of Corkscrew Road, just west of I-75, in December 2014 for  $5.8 million.

Just as that purchase was made, the Village of Estero incorporated. The formation of a new government out of Lee County meant Stock Development had to wait for permitting to finally become a reality. Almost seven years later, it’s starting to happen.

 

Site work began this summer on the project. Construction began on the 5 acres fronting the main road, where there will be 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurants.

Corsa at Estero Crossing, a 306-unit luxury apartment complex, should start vertical construction by the end of the third quarter next year. Tenants should start moving in by the end of 2023, said Keith Gelder, president of Stock Luxury Apartment Living. “We’re excited to be moving forward,” he said.

That land originally had been slated to be a big-box grocery store, such as a Costco or a Sam’s Club, he said. “The market has shifted. Retail has changed.”

As consumers continue buying more items online, smaller retail projects fronting apartments have been trending.

Stock already has announced six new tenants. Half of them are new-concept restaurants.

Oak & Stone is a craft beer/pizzeria. Crisp & Green focuses on healthy foods. Chicken Salad Chick serves, of course, chicken.

Orange Theory Fitness, Restore Wellness and Sherwin Williams are the other three signed tenants.

Farther west, the final phase of Genova should be breaking ground in 2022 on the south side of Corkscrew Road, east of U.S. 41.

There will be 40 new units. Of those, there will be 14 homes and 26 townhomes. They will be built by CC Homes in partnership with Barron Collier Companies. 

Across the street lies 22 acres purchased for $5.1 million in October 2016 by Volunteers of America. The nonprofit organization, now 125 years old, owns 30 senior-living communities across the United States.

Two of them are in Lee County: Gulf Coast Village in Cape Coral and The Preserve off Six Mile Cypress Parkway in Fort Myers.

The Estero project is called The Colonnade. A sales office has opened at 21101 Design Parc Lane, unit 101.

There will be 92 independent living apartment homes, 64 assisted living homes and 24 with memory care support. They will have resort-style amenities.

“We’re going to be a lifestyle community for older adults,” said GiGi Guerrero, sales and marketing manager for the Colonnade. The concept already seems to be popular. “We have 70% of our 92 homes reserved,” Guerrero said.

Permitting delays ended up giving Volunteers of America more time to tweak and improve the project, she said. “We’ll be incorporating a post-pandemic design,” Guerrero said. “It’s a blessing in disguise that we didn’t build just yet. Obviously, when Covid hit, communities like ours struggled.

“We’ve opened things up. We’ve added more open areas, even outside dining in case some situation arises in the future. Our residents can still be independent and socially distanced. All of our balconies are covered lanais. So they’ll have open air and open space.”

Of the three projects, Estero Crossing received the most resistance because of some environmental and traffic concerns.

Tweaks to the design, including a new traffic signal in the works, alleviated those concerns, said Jim Wilson, who was first elected to the Estero town council in 2015.

“It was a controversial project,” Wilson said. “There were a lot of objections to it. It was the size of the buildings. When you get to the east of that site, it had access problems. It was a NIMBY type of deal—A ‘Not in My Backyard’ type of thing. But it’s well underway. It should be good for everybody. The access road will have a new traffic light.

“In the end, they came with a project that was going to get approval. There were a lot of negotiations. It brings more housing opportunities, and it will create some additional shopping opportunities in that interchange areas. It will allow for them to get out of there safely. Is that good for Estero? Certainly.” 

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