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Bonita Springs city officials joined the Magnus family of local developers in breaking ground Tuesday night on Rooftop at Riverside, a family owned and operated food truck park planned on the vacant northeast corner of Old 41 Road and Reynolds Street. The project includes as many as eight food trucks and a two-story bar that will overlook Bonita’s Riverside Park across the street.

“It’s going to be so cool. The bar is going to be out front here and the way that the city has developed the code, they would like us to put an overhang over the sidewalk. So, part of the upstairs bar will be over the sidewalk. It’s going to be terrific event viewing, terrific overflow seating and really wonderful for the community to experience all the great events at Riverside Park,” said Chris Magnus, co-developer of Rooftop at Riverside.

Plans for the project show a two-story building on the hard corner of Old 41 and Reynolds Street with pads for food trucks on the north and east sides of the lot surrounding an open area for seating, activities and events in the middle of the property. “I like the thought of it being a gathering place for Bonita Springs families where folks from all walks of life can come and have some great food and some cold drinks and really enjoy our climate here,” Magnus said.

Construction by Naples-based Phoenix & Associates is expected to take about 10 months to a year from the date they start putting up the silt fence, Magnus said. “It’s all going to depend on material and labor, but Phoenix & Associates has always done a great job for us in other projects that we’ve done with them,” he said.

Rooftop at Riverside is going to be the perfect addition to jumpstart Bonita’s downtown, said Jesse Purdon, the city councilor for the district that will be home to the new development. “The food truck park is something we’ve been kicking around for a long time,” Purdon said, comparing the project to Celebration Park on Bayshore Drive in East Naples. “This is going to be a legacy piece. This piece right here is going to be the catalyst that starts what’s going to be our downtown.”

The project has been in the works for more than three years, since the city opened up the request for proposal (RFP) in 2019. “In October 2020, we were able to present, the city had their deliberations and we were fortunate enough that they had a great vision for bringing more business and more opportunity and more excitement downtown,” Magnus said.

While not revealing any specific food trucks or types of food trucks yet, Magnus said he is looking for a good variety of customer-centric operators with clean trucks and great ingredients. “So, we’re really looking for kind of a smorgasbord of different opportunities,” he said. “There are so many cool trucks that are so creative out there. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into one sort of truck.”

Each food truck pad will be equipped with individual water, sewer, electric and natural gas connections. Operators will submit menus to ensure items and cuisines do not overlap or compete, Magnus said, noting that food trucks will not be selling any beverages and the bar won’t be selling any food. “And, so we all have to work together to be successful,” he said.

The Magnus family has been behind local real estate development projects such as Johnny Malloy’s-anchored Bonita Plaza, Beach Storage on Bonita Beach Road and Bonita Storage Inn on West Terry Street. Building on their past success for this future endeavor, they view Rooftop at Riverside as a great opportunity for them and the city.

“I think there’s really a sense in the community now that if we can get more people downtown, more activity downtown, everyone’s going to be more successful,” Magnus said.

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