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Fort Myers Fire Training Beverage Co00794

The City of Fort Myers completed the sale of 47 acres off State Road 82, just west of Ortiz Avenue.

CMT Ventures, which is owned by Suncoast Beverage Sales, paid $9.1 million for the property off what’s also known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, according to the deed.

Fort Myers City Council voted 5-2 in May to sell the land to Suncoast Beverage, which intends to build a new beverage distribution warehouse on part of the land.

Storm Smart hurricane shutter company and Youngquist Brothers were other suitors for the land, but Suncoast Beverage grabbed Council’s attention because of its pledge to clean it up.

“I think that’s going to help that area really come alive,” Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson said of the sale. “Which, in turn, can take and cause the entire Martin Luther King corridor to be revitalized. It’s going to bring jobs, and I believe you’ll see other developing coming along, now that something is happening. We’re moving forward in the right direction.”

The land has environmental issues, including pollution. As part of the sale agreement, CMT Ventures will be responsible for remediating the land, which will take the expense out of the hands of city taxpayers.

Suncoast Beverage placed $3.1 million in an escrow account for remediating the land. The city has 30 days to vacate the property, a process that already began. It also had used some of the property as a plant nursery.

Suncoast Beverage couldn’t be reached for comment. The company, established in 1993 by Mike Mitchell, is run now by his son, Tim Mitchell, and is based off Hanson Street in Fort Myers.

Suncoast Beverage serves as Southwest Florida’s beer distributor for Anheuser-Busch brands, which include Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob and others.

The company purchased Arkansas Beverage Sales in 2015. The two companies, combined, sold about 14 million cases of beer last year, according to the company’s website.

The city has plans for a new fire department training facility, Fort Myers Fire Chief Tracy McMillion said. The previous one had been in place since 1972.

“The fire team has already identified a 4-acre property immediately behind Fire Station 16 on Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard, which the city already owns, to convert into the new training location,” McMillion said. “I am particularly excited about this location because it is the very center of the city and will allow us to achieve improved training and response capabilities for the next 50 years. We are currently devising a temporary 12-to-18-month training plan that uses interim sites while we construct our ultimate training facility.” 

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