Gulfshore Business Daily: June 2

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Video courtesy of WINK News

PLANS FOR THREE-BUILDING COMPLEX MOVE FORWARD IN FORT MYERS’ MIDTOWN

A new development in Fort Myers could be the key to more business moving to the area. Plans for a massive three-building complex in Midtown are moving forward. A four-story apartment building, a five-story building with upscale amenities and a six-story parking garage are set to make up what will be called The Montage at Midtown. The developer says the project will create nearly 700 jobs directly and indirectly with a nearly $130 million economic impact for a section of the city that needs a jumpstart, WINK News reports. The city is hoping this development will inspire other investors to consider the 243-acre Midtown, bordered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the north, Edison Avenue to the south, Cleveland Avenue on the west and Evans Avenue to the east. 

 

LEE COMMISSIONERS OK DESIGN CONTRACT FOR WATER QUALITY PROJECT AT LAKES REGIONAL PARK

Lee County commissioners on Tuesday voted to award a $598,575 contract to Johnson Engineering for the design of water quality improvements at Lakes Regional Park. The project is intended to improve the quality of the water flowing from Lakes Park into Hendry Creek through the construction of an alum treatment facility. Based on water conditions, the treatment facility will add alum to the West Lake, which will bind with and settle out excess nutrients and algae. Excess water from Lakes Park, 7330 Gladiolus Drive, discharges into the Hendry Creek West Branch and eventually flows into Estero Bay. The design phase is expected to take about a year. The project has received a $475,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. For more information on Lee County’s efforts to protect and improve water quality, click here.

 

LEE COMMISSIONERS APPROVE DESIGN CONTRACT FOR SHARED-USE PATHWAY IN LEHIGH ACRES

Lee County commissioners on Tuesday voted to approve a design contract for the 6-mile Able Canal shared-use pathway in Lehigh Acres. Tampa-based Kisinger Campo & Associates Corp. will design the pathway with a bicycle/pedestrian bridge, high-emphasis crosswalks, shade structures, landscaping and other amenities. It will create additional access and connections for pedestrians and bicyclists to community points of interest and destinations in the Able Canal corridor and within Lehigh Acres from Harns Marsh to Joel Boulevard. Kisinger Campo & Associates Corp. was selected following competitive negotiation among seven proposals for the $900,000 design contract. This planned and budgeted project will be fully funded through the Florida Department of Transportation’s local agency program and regional parks impact fees.

 

AAA: FLORIDA’S MEMORIAL DAY GAS PRICES LOWER THAN 2018 HOLIDAY LEVELS

Florida gas prices averaged $2.86 per gallon on Memorial Day, according to AAA. The state average was higher than the previous two Memorial Day weekends, yet 5 cents less than what Florida drivers paid during the 2018 holiday. Florida gas prices have drifted lower during the past two weeks, declining three cents during that time. The state average is now 7 cents more than a month ago and nearly a dollar per gallon more than this time last year, when fuel demand plummeted due to the pandemic. Pump prices are 66 cents per gallon more than what drivers paid at the beginning of the year, as gasoline demand recovers from the pandemic. However, the state average remains 4 cents less than this year’s highest daily average price of $2.91 per gallon, recorded in late March. Punta Gorda is one of the least expensive metro markets, at $2.78 per gallon, AAA reports.

 

FLORIDA NAMED NO. 1 IN NATIONAL EDUCATION INDEX

Florida took the No. 1 spot in the Center for Education Reform’s (CER) national Parent Power! Index (PPI), an interactive tool that measures states on the degree to which they give parents the power to exercise fundamental decisions regarding how their children are educated. Florida received a score of 85% in charter schools and digital and personalized learning, 98% in choice programs, and 82% in teacher quality. For the full results, click here.

 

LEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT SEEKING LEADERSHIP SEARCH AGENCY

The School District of Lee County is seeking a professional leadership search agency to identify a highly qualified superintendent for its growing school system. The agency should offer a broad range of expertise and services with a proven track record for successfully placing leaders in education. The consultant team’s scope of work will include working with the school board and engaging the community for input to develop and facilitate a local, regional and national search to fill the superintendent role. Interested agencies should provide a cover letter and firm executive profile to boardoffice@leeschools.net. Submissions are due by June 11. A search firm will be selected by June 21.

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

MORE VISITORS EXTENDING BUSY SEASON INTO SUMMER MONTHS

On the heels of a busy Memorial Day weekend, Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman said the local economy is starting to look even better than before the pandemic because of a steady increase in the number of people coming to Southwest Florida. He is forecasting an extended season through a sizzling summer. “This is going to be big for us,” Hamman tells WINK News. “Typically, in our area, we have a very seasonal economy where we do very well in the wintertime, then summer and early fall there’s a dip. Then things pick back up again as we go into the next season. This year, we believe there will be no season. We believe that basically this year it’s going to be busy all throughout.”

 

COURTHOUSE SHADOWS DEMOLITION MAKES WAY FOR APARTMENT COMPLEX IN EAST NAPLES

Demolition recently began at the old Courthouse Shadows retail center on U.S. 41 East in East Naples. A 300-unit apartment complex will be built in place of the former Publix-anchored inline center and the vacant freestanding OfficeMax store and Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. The first apartments are targeted for delivery there in September 2022, according to developer Johnson Development Associates. All of the Courthouse Shadows’ outparcels fronting the East Trail will remain operating as the old structures come down and new apartments take shape behind them. Starbucks drive-thru, That Taco Place restaurant, the Chevron gas station and Dunkin’ continue doing business there. 

 

FOGG’S NURSERY, HERB’S BBQ RELOCATE IN COLLIER COUNTY

Herb’s Best BBQ has a new location on Immokalee Road for its Saturday-only roadside food service in Collier County. The construction of Naples Classical Academy, rising quickly at 10270 Immokalee Road, caused underground utility issues that flooded the longtime location at the former Fogg’s Nursery site, necessitating a move. “It made it impossible for us to be there,” said Chef Herbert V. Small, owner-operator of Herb’s Best BBQ. Herb’s now operates from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays in front of Peace Lutheran Church, 9850 Immokalee Road, a short distance west from its longtime location. Meanwhile, Fogg’s Nursery & Mulch Supply has relocated its business about 13 miles northeast to 1770 E. Sanctuary Road in northern Golden Gate Estates. 

 

FGCU BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO MEET JUNE 8

The Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees will meet at 8:30 a.m. on June 8 in the Cohen Student Union Ballroom, Room No. 203. Click here to view the agenda packet. Board meetings are open to the public. For more information, contact Tiffany Reynolds at treynold@fgcu.edu, or visit the website for the Board of Trustees.

 

LEADERSHIP NEXT TO DISCUSS REAL ESTATE MARKET

Leadership Next, a monthly program for advancing business professionals, will host a networking program 5-7 p.m. on June 8 at the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the current condition of Southwest Florida’s real estate market and the Lee County tax certificate sale. Leadership Next attendees will learn the latest insights into the local real estate market, presented by Jason Jakus on behalf of the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association (RPCRA). Noelle Branning and John Bodner of the Lee County Tax Collector’s Office will lead the discussion on the tax certificate sale and what property owners and buyers need to know about real estate taxes. Parking is available across the street from the chamber in the grass lot of the Florida Repertory Theatre, accessible by Bay Street. Admission is free for Chamber members and $10 for future members. It includes one complimentary drink provided by Fort Myers Brewing, a non-alcoholic beverage from Coca-Cola Florida and food provided by Buffalo Wings and Rings. Click here to register in advance.

 

ANNUAL MEDIA BREAKFAST RETURNS JUNE 18

The Public Relations Society of America’s Gulf Coast Chapter (PRSA), in partnership with the Florida Public Relations Association Southwest Florida Chapter, will host the annual media breakfast, “Mapping your Media: Navigating through the Changing PR Landscape,” from 8-11 a.m. on June 18 at Artichoke and Co. in Bonita Springs. The event will follow social-distancing guidelines and masks are optional. The annual Media Breakfast event brings media members front and center for a candid conversation of the state of our media and how public relations professionals can build relationships and get their organizations’ messages out. Tim Aten, managing editor at Gulfshore Business, and Tom Doerr, news director at WINK News, are among the confirmed speakers. Registration is limited to the first 50 registrants. Early bird registration cost is $35 members, $40 nonmembers and $25 students. Registration includes a full breakfast. Register here.

 

CHARITABLE NOTES
 

United Way to host annual board of directors meeting on June 11

United Way of Lee County Inc. UnitedWayLee.org will hold its annual meeting of the membership and board of directors at 8 a.m. on June 11 via Zoom and in person. Qualification of members includes any person and the spouse of any such person, living, working or doing business in the community who contributes cash or other property to the corporation. Membership of the corporation is nontransferable and non-assignable. To receive a link to register for the annual meeting of the membership, email RD@UnitedWayLee.org. A link will be sent three days before the meeting.

 

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