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Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson Gives Progress Report Post-Ian: Moore About Business

Mayor Kevin Anderson and members of his team gave a wide-ranging report on Fort Myers post-Hurricane Ian progress at a gathering of local commercial real estate professionals.

"We’ve got a lot of great things in the works. And I think this is just the beginning. As devastating as the hurricane was, I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of things happening. The economy is going to be stimulated," said Anderson.

He addressed the increased housing and hospitality.

"We have 11,000 plus residential units in the works that includes townhomes, apartments, condos and single family. We have 5 hotels with 597 rooms getting ready to come to town. One of them should open this year, the Hampton. These places are all over but there must be a need or they wouldn’t be opening up."

Anderson spoke about the future of Fort Myers Beach and other waterfront properties.

"The landscape of the beach, the demographics at the beach is going to change considerably. But I think it’s going to be for the better. Same thing along the river, I think we had about 300 homes that were uninhabitable, 50, I believe, that have to be torn down. But what’s gonna come out of that are bigger stronger homes."

He provided an update on some of the features that attract people to our region, particularly for golfers.

“ESPN did a rankingof the nine best golf courses in Southwest Florida: number one Fort Myers, number five Eastwood. That’s worth more than a lot of people realize because part of making our area attractive is to have these great amenities".

Anderson discussed the potential impact of the Edison Awards, a global innovation awards event that will be held in Fort Myers for the third consecutive year in April.

"If you’re not familiar with the Edison Awards, they’re bringing in some of the top innovators in the world. And top business people to Fort Myers for this awards ceremony and exposing them to our region. We’re confident that what we’re going to see is some of them investing in our area.”

Anderson and the team believe in the Edison Awards so much that they city signed a three-year contract with the awards for $25,000, with an additional $25,000 from the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and from the Horizon Councileach.

Anderson then pointed out the overall economic impact of these recent developments which, he says, will be good for the whole community.  

"If we can attract economic development that brings in higher paying jobs than what this region is used to, that is also a key to addressing the housing issue we’re facing. Bring those earnings up and then housing does become a little more affordable."

Steve Belden, Fort Myers Community Development Director, added,

”Despite everything we’ve been through, and all of the hardships that we faced here, we’re still standing and we’re still growing, and people are still coming here.”

Karen Moore is a contributing partner for WGCU and the publisher of SWFL Business Today.

Publisher of SWFL Business Today