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County to hold open house regarding possible partnership for Waterway Estates marina

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Nov 8, 2021

Lee County will hold an open house-style public meeting to discuss and answer questions about a proposal to build a marina and boat club on the Waterway Estates property on Inlet Drive in North Fort Myers.

The open house will run from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center, 2000 North Recreation Park Way.

This open house is intended to update residents on the progress before the Board of County Commissioners considers the proposal on Dec. 7 at its meeting, officials said.

“As with many county projects and issues, we are holding this open house so residents can interact with staff, understand the process and provide feedback,” Desjarlais said in a prepared statement.

The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted on March 5, 2019, to direct staff to develop an Invitation to Negotiate to solicit developer proposals for the property based on current entitlements.

Safe Harbor Marinas is proposing to lease the 6.8-acre county-owned property for up to 50 years. It proposes to invest about $9 million in capital improvements including dry storage for 200 boats, wet/floating boat slips, fuel dock, waterfront restaurant, a pool and the potential for a Lee County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit substation.

​Safe Harbor Marinas operates 97 marinas in the U.S., 80 percent of which are coastal, across 20 states. Their team collaborates with municipalities, states, counties and Port Districts.

Their Florida West Coast Region currently includes eight fully operating marinas, including three in Lee County: Burnt Store, Cape Harbour, and Pineland marinas.

Lee County will maintain ownership of the property, which is currently unused and vacant.

The Waterway Estates Property surrounding a county wastewater treatment plant was acquired in 2007 in anticipation of the plant being expanded.

Alternatives to the plant expansion were presented in January 2009, and in June 2010 an agreement was approved with the Florida Governmental Utility Authority to interconnect with its North Fort Myers plant, which was completed. The Waterway Estates Plant was decommissioned and demolished in August 2013.

As the project is still in the procurement process, the county is unable to comment.