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Back to the Future: ‘Project Dolphin’ gets CRA nod

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Apr 8, 2021

Artist’s rendering of Project Dolphin. PROVIDED

The Community Redevelopment Agency approved this week a non-binding letter of intent with Roers Development for a proposed development along the Bimini Basin.

As proposed, “Project Dolphin,” will be a mixed-use development on 5.5 acres, with 185 apartment units, a 375-stall parking garage, approximately 25,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, pedestrian promenade and a waterfront restaurant with docks, boat slips and upgrading of the existing seawall.

The project is anticipated to cost $50 million, excluding the cost of the land.

“If we keep our fingers crossed and everything works out well there, that’s going to be wonderful,” said CRA Chair Linda Biondi. “Stuff is finally happening.”

The CRA and the city have sought developers to acquire and assemble more than 20 acres of undeveloped and properties determined to be “blighted” along Bimini Basin.

Several developers considered purchasing the site and developing a mixed-use project but were unable to make the project work financially.

Project Dolphin would be built on undeveloped and vacant property on the western edge of the basin, with Cape Coral Parkway serving as the northern boundary.

Roers last year completed construction of a 319-unit multi-family development called “Cape at Savona,” valued at $50 million and located on Savona Avenue about a quarter-mile west of Chiquita Boulevard.

Construction documents from Roers Development (based out of Fargo, N.D.) should be ready by the fall, as should a TIF rebate agreement for CRA consideration, with an anticipated groundbreaking by late summer 2022 and completion date by near the end of 2023.

The project is anticipated to be a game changer for the South Cape, generating more than $5 million in TIF revenues over the next 20 years. The CRA stands to gain $1.5 million in impact fees prior to groundbreaking, officials said.

The project means the South Cape will not be focused around Southeast 47th Terrace, where events such as the popular bike nights have been held, said Cape Coral City Councilmember and CRA liaison Gloria Tate.

It, and a second unrelated development project, will change the face of the entire South Cape.

“A lot has transpired there. A lot of people have had the vision but not the wherewithal. The new developer is financially able to come to the table to put it together,” said Cape Coral City Councilmember and CRA liaison Gloria Tate. “It’s no longer going to be 47th Terrace, it’ll be a destination.”

Sales tax generated is expected to be between $2.4 million and $4 million annually. Approximately 700 combined construction (570 jobs) and permanent retail and restaurant jobs (120 estimated) are expected to be created for a project that could have a catalytic impact on future development.