City Center 41
The City Center 41, on the corner of Braman and Cleveland avenues. was awarded a $50,000 Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Landscape Façade Matching Grant to upgrade the former Bingo Plaza. Construction included a new building façade and enhancing the landscaping in the parking lot along Cleveland Avenue. In August 2011, City Center’s grant was increased by $5,000 to design a pilot landscape area on the property. Total private investment was $1,895,000 and resulted in an estimated 50 new permanent jobs.
Cleveland Avenue Medians Beautification
The CRA and the City of Fort Myers have worked together to revitalize and improve the look of Cleveland Avenue (U.S. 41). The CRA provided a $194,200 funding match for a $100,000 FDOT Beautification Grant for the design, installation, and maintenance of median landscaping from Colonial to Boy Scout Drive, including the area under the Colonial overpass. This was the last remaining mile of U.S. 41 in Lee County that was not landscaped. Beautiful, colorful plants and trees have replaced the grassy areas and provide more enjoyable landscaping in the center of the roadway, as well as the large area below the Colonial Boulevard overpass. Now that the project has been finished, the CRA will provide maintenance for the landscaping.
Cleveland Avenue Nutrient Bank
The Cleveland Avenue Offsite Stormwater Credits Program offers an additional incentive to developers and businesses that are located in the Cleveland Avenue redevelopment area. The CRA contributed $1.3 million to build additional water quality treatment above and beyond what was required for the Fort Myers Country Club (FMCC), and in exchange, the CRA was granted the ability to offer offsite stormwater credits as an added incentive to redevelopment within the Cleveland Avenue redevelopment areas. The Grand Central Luxury Apartments project, a 2ó2-unit market-rate apartment complex with an estimated value of $50 million, is the first project to use stormwater treatment credits. In addition to the apartment complex, Grand Central is where the new Krispy Kreme doughnut shop will be located, along with AT&T, Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, other retail and Suncoast Express Wash Inc., a state-of-the-art car wash.
Edison Mall Bus Transfer Station
The Edison Mall Transfer Station is a $1.25 million public transit transfer station that serves nearly 250,000 passengers a year, centered in the busiest north/south and east/west corridors in Lee County, Florida (U.S. 41 & Colonial Boulevard). The facility is located on mall property owned by the Simon Property Group and it contains eight bus bays, restrooms, Wi-Fi, a route map and information center, and covered seating areas. The project was a collaborative effort between the Florida Department of Transportation, Lee County Transit, the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency and one of the largest mall developers in the country, the Simon Property Group. The CRA worked with Simon Property Group and LeeTran to secure a ground lease for the Edison Mall Transfer Station. The Transfer Station will increase mall access for workers and shoppers, thereby activating employment options and more shopping dollars spent, and is also a crucial crossroads Lee-Tran location bringing commuters from outlying communities into the heart of Fort Myers.
El Dorado Furniture
The CRA awarded a $70,000 Landscape Façade Matching Grant to renovate a large portion of Colonial Plaza, a 12.51 acre shopping center, located at a key intersection along U.S. 41. The new owner, Ata Center, LLC, invested approximately $11 million to turn this aging 1970s shopping center from an eyesore to a crown jewel, creating an estimated 50 new jobs in the process. Along with all of the interior improvements, the new owners added new architectural elements to the building and landscaped pedestrian islands to enhance the visibility and aesthetics of the shopping center. Total private investment is estimated at approximately $10,670,850.
Enterprise Car Rentals & Sales
Operator of Enterprise Car Rentals & Sales, Enterprise Holdings was awarded a $50,000 CRA Landscape Façade Matching Grant for landscape and exterior building improvements for its new retail car sales, rentals and corporate office location northwest of the Cleveland Avenue-Boy Scout Drive intersection. Work included removing deteriorated building materials, improving the building’s façade, new signage, parking lot improvements, outdoor courtyard and employee dining area, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements, and enhanced landscaping.
This former abandoned mobile home park has been transformed into a 280-unit, market-rate apartment complex with 15,000 sq. ft. of commercial space along Cleveland Avenue. The commercial development includes Krispy Kreme, Jimmy John’s, AT&T, and a $5 million luxury car wash, all of which are open for business. Grand Central was the first Cleveland Avenue project to use Nutrient Bank Stormwater Credits in lieu of building its own system. It is located at 4944 S. Cleveland Avenue.
The project is projected to create 453 total jobs, generate $16,783,794 of household earnings, add $31,207,234 of value to the regional economy, and increase regional demand by $59,628,854. (Wagner Consulting Group Economic Study)
It has been selected for a Fort Myers Community Redevelopment (CRA) tax rebate, which will be issued with a rate of 95% for Years 1 and 2 and a rate of 77% for Years 3-12, not exceeding a total of $4,450,000.
Grand Central’s developer Aileron Investment Management has also agreed to sell the back portion of their land to the City of Fort Myers to construct much-needed parking lot for the Sam Fleishman Regional Sports Complex.
As of January 2020, the apartment complex has received temporary Certificates of Occupancy and is 40% occupied.
Happiness Healthy Café
The CRA awarded a Landscape Façade Matching Grant to Happiness Healthy Café at 1963 Ricardo Avenue. Funds were used to purchase new signage and make repairs to the parking lot.
The CRA increased the original $1,100 grant to $4,680 to help the owner correct some structural issues that surfaced during the façade work. Total project investment was approximately $35,795.
Infinite Professional Center
Formerly known as Lee Executive Center, Infinite was awarded a $50,000 CRA Landscape Façade Matching Grant for building façade improvements; landscape/irrigation enhancement; parking lot repair, resurfacing and striping; stucco repair and painting; damaged exterior doors replacement; and improved signage. As a result, the owners offered free office space to a limited number new start-up businesses selected on a competitive basis.
Grace Professional Building
Grace Professional Building was chosen as a pilot project in Cleveland Avenue for the Façade and Landscape grant programs. This building was formerly the Barnett Bank building at the corner of Grace and Cleveland avenues prior to being purchased by Dr. John Kagan who was in the process of completing nearly $2 million worth of improvements and additions. Grace Professional Building was approved for a $50,000 Façade Matching Grant; a Landscape Matching Grant was also approved, for a total of award of $110,000. The project has produced three new permanent jobs.
New Mission Systems/Jimmy John’s
New Mission Systems International, Inc., was awarded a $50,000 CRA Landscape Façade Matching Grant for the construction of a new building that will be connected to the existing building by a breezeway, and coordinated landscaping on the Cleveland Avenue frontage. Located at 2023 Katherine Street, the new building will be home to Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. Total project costs are estimated to be $1,132,490, and the total anticipated number of new jobs created is 110.
In 2014, Miracle Plaza was awarded a CRA Landscape Façade Matching Grant of $25,000 for enhanced site improvements including landscaping, increased building aesthetics, and improved pedestrian access, for the property located at 4160-4224 World Plaza Lane. Previously in 2012, Miracle Plaza had received a $10,000 Development Assistance grant for the planning and design of the landscape and façade improvements. The incentives resulted in a private investment of $225,000
Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida
Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida were awarded a $50,000 Landscape Façade Matching Grant, followed by a $5,000 Development Assistance Grant for a plan to unify the landscaping between their current building and their new surgery center. The incentive resulted in a private investment of $2,623,615 and the creation of an estimated 130 new permanent jobs.
Page Field Center/”Chuck E. Cheese”
Jay Peak was awarded $50,000 in CRA Landscape Façade Matching Grant funds for their Page Field Center project, located on Cleveland Avenue across from Page Field Commons. The property was home to Chuck E. Cheese, a provider of games, rides, prizes, food and entertainment for families with children of all ages from toddlers to big kids. Grant funds were used to purchase and install new plant materials and an irrigation system. 40 new permanent jobs were created as a result.
South Trail Shopping Center/Save-A-Lot Grocery Supermarket
Three CRA grants were awarded that centered around the rehabilitation of the South Trails Shopping Center, located at 3257 Cleveland Avenue:
- Century Asset Management, LLC, was awarded a $10,000 Development Assistance Grant, and a
- $50,000 Landscape Façade Matching Grant for improvements to the lighting, landscaping and façade of the center
- Savers LaBelle was awarded a $50,000 Landscape Façade Matching Grant for the Save-a-Lot grocery store to be opened in a portion of the old Publix space
Save-A-Lot opened this flagship store in January 2011. The grocery store alone was estimate to have created 80 new jobs, in addition to providing surrounding residents with a nearby spot to purchase groceries. The surrounding retail shops produced an additional 40 new, permanent jobs. Total private investment was $296,000.
The Tower 41 project was awarded a Development Assistance Grant (DAG) of $10,000 for the property located at the corner of Braman and Cleveland avenues. The project consists of a four-story medical office building with a detached parking structure located at the rear of the property.
The CRA awarded a $50,000 Landscape Façade Matching Grant to the Lee Memorial Health Systems Foundation in order to help keep the Fort Myers location of the Wellness Center and Rehabilitation Center open and available to the Central Fort Myers community. The project included $1.25 million of private investment and will create ten new jobs by 2020. Upgrades included sealing and restriping the parking lot, the addition of two awnings to the façade, and intensive interior improvements.