With thousands of new homes off Corkscrew Road planned or already built, the Lee County Tax Collector needed more office space to accommodate the growing tax base.
Entering 2024, it will get just that. About 10,500 square feet of empty storefronts at the southwest corner of Miromar Outlets in Estero will be converted into a new Lee County Tax Collector’s Office, one that also will offer on-site approved road test courses for driver’s licenses.
The new location will be 7 to 10 miles west of where housing developments are in the planning stages or already under construction.
After Lee County elected officials, including current commissioners Brian Hamman and Cecil Pendergrass, voted to boost development tenfold in the Density Reduction/Groundwater Recharge area in 2015, thousands of new homes have been built, and thousands more are in the planning stages off Corkscrew Road, east of Estero.
“Early on, when I took office, I recognized we really had a need for an additional location,” said Lee County Tax Collector Noelle Branning, who was elected in 2020. “If you go down Corkscrew Road, it looks completely different than it did not too long ago. I thought Miromar Outlets would be an ideal location. One, because of all of the growth we are seeing out that way. We’re really excited about opening at Miromar.”
The other reason is to accommodate existing residents east of Interstate 75. As of now, there’s only one other tax collector location east of the interstate, in Lehigh Acres.
“I would imagine it would also draw people from Daniels Parkway and all along Treeline [Avenue],” Branning said of the new location. “It’s going to serve where we’re seeing growth. We’re extremely excited, because we know it will be yet another location to offer road tests when we do open.”
Lee County will lease the space from Miromar for $215,052 per year, which is $17,921 per month, according to the lease agreement, with rent increasing by 2% each year. They agreed to a three-year lease with five additional three-year renewals, meaning the office plans on being there for up to 18 years.
Lee County also has agreed to pay Miromar $845,028 for building out the space to serve the tax collector’s needs.
Branning said the office will partner with local artists to liven up the space, which previously housed a Neiman Marcus outlet store.
“It’s more of a Florida feel and not so much of a government office feel,” Branning said.