Torgerson Provides Downtown Update

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The following letter was shared with Fort Myers Beach Town Council members late Thursday morning, July 7, 2016. We are sharing it in its entirety:

Jim, Mayor and Council~

Jim, thank you for taking time this morning to meet with myself along with John Gucciardo and Chris Flagg. After our meeting, given past concerns raised over the previous Grand Resorts proposal, I thought it best to summarize our discussion this morning, for public record purposes, and am doing so below:

We shared that TPI has had conceptual discussions with various staff members of FDOT, LDOT and County Asst. Mgr. Doug Meurer about an alternate redevelopment plan that TPI would like to bring forward to the Town for consideration this fall. The purpose of these discussions have been exclusive to the subject of Estero Blvd. and public/private lands associated with any possible future improvements to Estero Blvd. at the base of the sky bridge. We feel that there is a logical “land swap” between the County and TPI which would net a result of the County having enough land, critical land, to make any future roadway/intersection improvements the jurisdictions determine appropriate. And in doing so, it would isolate our proposed alternate redevelopment proposal/application from the topic of public roadway improvements, something that we believe all parties feel is most appropriate.

For clarification, the only County land being discussed/considered in a possible land swap, is part of Seafarers. A potential swap would likely result in the County keeping part of Seafarers and obtaining all of our Ocean Jewel property and part of our surface parking lot adjacent to the Lighthouse Resort. There has been no discussion involving any of the Crescent Beach Park County property. There is a statutory process that would need to be followed to its strictest guidelines should such a conceptual land swap eventually be consummated.

Here is the punchline; both TPI and the County are very sensitive towards avoiding coming forth with a redevelopment proposal, that could involve a potential land swap as stated above, without first receiving a message/indication from the Town that they would be open to considering such a concept. NO ONE is asking for any commitment of any nature and understand that any Application we come forth with will be evaluated on its own merits. However, what we are looking for is a simple acknowledgement from the Town, that a conceptual land swap, as are part of our Application and as described above, has merits for consideration.

Editor’s note: On Friday, July 8, 2016, Tom Torgerson made the following correction to his letter:

Jim is going to meet with legal/Dawn to determine how/if he can have an informative conversation about our meeting with each Council Member and Mayor. And, if in fact he obtains clearance to have a conversation with Council individually, it is to inform each member of our meeting but not to gather their thoughts or opinions. 

Our alternate plan is still very much in the design development stages, however, we can make the following comments about it, which I think you will appreciate:

  • It does not involve Crescent Beach Park
  • It does not involve rerouting of Estero Blvd.
  • It does not involve a Coastal Protection System
  • It does not involve a Parking Garage, only parking at grade level below flood plane
  • It contains building height to a 40’ habitable vertical envelope
  • It does not require a Comp Plan Amendment

Thank you,

 

Tom Torgerson