Lead Photo: Gates Construction has completed Life Storage and Carl’s Wine Vault. Details below.
Video courtesy of WINK News
LEE COUNTY, STORES DISTRIBUTING VACCINE SAY THEY CAN HANDLE INLUX OF APPOINTMENTS
So far, only 8.5% of Floridians are fully vaccinated, but can Florida counties and pharmacies handle the influx of vaccines proposed to be available for every adult by the end of May? While no formal plan exists to ramp up vaccination efforts in Lee County, commissioners, the Florida Health Department in Lee County, Winn-Dixie, Walmart and Publix all said they can handle more shots when they get more vaccine. About 100,000 in Lee County have been fully vaccinated. Assuming everyone wants a shot, Lee County has about 500,000 more adults to vaccinate. County leaders say the old airport vaccination site can administer 10,000 doses a day, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
FUTURE OF LEE CIVIC CENTER, FAIRGROUNDS COULD INCLUDE HOTEL, RETAIL SPACE
The Lee County Fair’s North Fort Myers property is up for new management or even redevelopment. The county is exploring options on what to do with the Lee Civic Center and the surrounding property, but that doesn’t mean dramatic change is on the way anytime soon. The Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair is celebrating its 97th year and its 41st at the property at State Road 31 and Bayshore Road. A proposal shared with WINK News by the Fair Association shows Kitson and Partners, the developers of Babcock Ranch, want to connect it to the property they own across the street and turn the fairgrounds into a hotel, restaurant and retail space. The county said this is just the start of the process. There’s no vote anytime soon and no one is out of the running, WINK News reports.
NAPLES CITY COUNCIL CONTINUES DISCUSSION ON BUILDING HEIGHT ORDINANCE
The Naples City Council on Wednesday continued its first reading of a proposed ordinance to amend city code to limit building heights to 42 feet in commercial zoning districts and eliminate the ability to obtain a variance to building height. After debating the possibility for exceptions to the ordinance, council did not take action on the issue and continued discussion to a future meeting, although a date was not set. The proposed ordinance keeps with the city’s vision goal to preserve the small-town character and culture by ensuring a development scale that is consistent with the residential community and expectations that growth is limited in the community. Last June, City Council temporarily prohibited applications for variances to the maximum allowable height in commercial districts for six months while the city considered an amendment to permanently remove the ability to request a variance for the three-story building height. In December, this action was extended for another 180 days.
Video courtesy of WINK News
GAS PRICES HIT 19-MONTH HIGH IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA
Gas prices in Southwest Florida are at a 19-month high, with an average of $2.69 per gallon in Lee and Charlotte counties, and $2.71 in Collier County. AAA reports that’s 21 cents more than a month ago and 40 cents more than a year ago. The rise in prices is making drivers change their routines, spending less time on the road to keep more money in their pockets. AAA predicts we’ll be paying higher prices at the pump at least through the summer months, WINK News reports.
GATES CONSTRUCTION COMPLETES LIFE STORAGE AND CARL’S WINE VAULT
Gates Construction has completed Life Storage and Carl’s Wine Vault at 11201 Tamiami Trail E. across from Treviso Bay in East Naples. The wine vault and personal storage facility consists of a three-story, climate-controlled building. With a portion of this dedicated solely to wine storage, the remainder of the space will be used for personal storage units. Carl’s Wine Vault will provide comprehensive wine storage solutions to restaurants, wine clubs, brokers and individual collectors looking to protect their prized wine collections. The 90,972-square-foot facility is fully equipped with a multiple redundancy emergency backup power system to maintain temperature and humidity during any power outage. Design services were provided by MHK Architecture & Planning.
Video courtesy of WINK News
POLICING ON TWO WHEELS: FORT MYERS OFFICERS TRAIN FOR NEW APPROACH
Most people ride bicycles for fun and good exercise, but for bike officers, it provides another tool to keep citizens safe. “We’re taking some of our younger officers and we’re putting them through bicycle training,” said Lt. Shawn Yates, who oversees a class made up of a dozen officer volunteers. Officer Alan Gagnon, who has been a bicycle officer for more than 14 years, is the lead trainer for the class. These bike officers will be used for routine patrols and special operations, WINK News reports.
COLLIER COUNTY RANKED AMONG TOP PLACES TO GET A MORTGAGE IN FLORIDA
Collier County ranked No. 3 in SmartAsset’s list of “Best Places to Get a Mortgage” in Florida. The financial technology company distilled four factors—mortgage approval rates, financing costs, property taxes and annual mortgage payments—into a composite index that measured each county in the state. Collier County was listed with a loan funding rate of $63.25%; five-year borrowing costs of $69,947; property tax of $8,967; annual mortgage payment of $13,056; and Best Mortgage Markets Index of 80.81. More information on the study, including an interactive map and methodology, can be found here.
SWFL INC. NETWORKING EVENT SET FOR MARCH 11
SWFL Inc. will host a networking event for business professionals from 4-6 p.m. on March 11 at Millennial Brewing Co. No membership is required to attend the indoor-outdoor event, which includes one free beer for registered attendees and food available from the Big Easy Beignets food truck. Registration is $15, and ticket sales will close at 5 p.m. on March 10. Due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, attendance at the event is limited, so early registration is recommended. No tickets will be sold at the door.
DISTINGUISHED ENTREPRENEUR OF SWFL AWARDS TO BE LIVE-STREAMED MAY 4
The Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University (FSBDC at FGCU) will host its tenth annual Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida Awards at 6 p.m. on May 4 via live-stream. The awards recognize three outstanding Southwest Florida business owners for their success, innovative technology, and business advocacy. Award categories include the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business Advocate of the Year, and Distinguished Innovator of the Year. The 2021 judges are Timothy J. Cartwright, Phil Borchmann, Ryan Carter, Donna Flammang and Jonathan Rommie. The Hallmark Sponsor is Markham Norton Mosteller Wright and Co. P.A. Due to the pandemic, the event will be completely digital. Register here.
RENÉE GADDIS INTERIORS HIRES NEW ASSOCIATES
Renée Gaddis Interiors, a full-service residential interior design firm, recently hired Celeste Cornejo and Kayla Middendorf as design associates. Cornejo earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture in Argentina from the University of Mendoza school of Architecture & Urban Planning and completed an exchange study at the National University of Mexico. She completed her thesis at Virginia Tech. She most recently worked for an interior design and architecture firm on Miami Beach, focusing on high-end residential projects. Conejo is currently completing an interior design course through the University of Miami. Middendorf received a bachelor’s degree in interior and environmental design from Illinois State University. Before moving to Southwest Florida, she worked for multiple interior design firms in the Chicagoland area, developing experience in both commercial and residential design.
HEATHERWOOD CONSTRUCTION EXPANDS TEAM
Heatherwood Construction has added new project superintendents and one tech/warranty specialist. Superintendent Scott Heston brings more than 25 years of construction experience with a wide variety of project types, including assisted living, medical, restaurants, schools, office and historic renovations. Heston will be responsible for daily onsite supervision of Heatherwood Construction projects. He is joined by Justin Lewis, who has joined the team as assistant superintendent. Lewis has more than seven years of experience in the construction field and in site development. He is presently working on Heatherwood’s construction of a tire/automotive store in Charlotte County. Jake Hicks also joins the Heatherwood team as its tech team/warranty specialist.
Guardian ad Litem Foundation opens March Madness Bracket Challenge
The Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, has launched its fourth annual March Madness Bracket Challenge. Participants can pre-register here. The cost to participate is a $25 minimum donation per bracket. After completing the online registration form, participants will receive a complete list of rules and instructions for completing their picks. Brackets go live on Selection Sunday, March 14, and all picks must be entered by noon on March 18. Participants earn points for correct picks in each round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. Winners will be announced after the championship game on April 5. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers. Proceeds will help the Guardian ad Litem Foundation recruit, train and support volunteer child advocates who serve as the voice for abused, neglected and abandoned youth in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties as they navigate the judicial, education and child welfare systems. The foundation also provides financial assistance to help meet a child’s basic and developmental needs. The Bracket Challenge is presented by IBERIABANK and First Horizon Bank and is organized as a private group through the NCAA’s official tournament website.
Don’t be the last to know what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected.