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Pine Island Road paves way to economic boom

January 9, 2020
North Fort Myers Neighbor

Pine Island Road saw major development over the last year and residents can expect more, as more than $200 million in private investments are scheduled to break ground over the next 18 months.

The EDO will even be hosting a "Economic Development Showcase on Pine Island Road" this April to inform the community on what they can expect to see along the corridor in the coming months, as well as attracting prospective developers to the area.

EDO Manager Ricardo Noguera said the office is excited to see continued growth along Pine Island Road and to see the projects slated for 2020 come to fruition.

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"There are several projects either already under construction or in the planning stages along the Pine Island Road Corridor," Noguera said. "In fact, more than $200 million in private investments are scheduled to break ground over the next 18 months. These are long overdue and demonstrate the development influence the largest city in the tri-county area (Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties) has with nearly 200,000 residents and counting."

So, why Pine Island Road for this "booming" growth?

"The Pine Island Road Corridor represents the economic spine of the Cape, offering developers and businesses unique opportunities to capitalize on the thousands of vehicles passing daily," Noguera said. "With a mix of retail, office, and mixed-use developments planned in the next few years representing more than $200 million, the availability of properties is declining rapidly. Now is the time to invest and the City is eager to work with developers of business parks, lifestyle centers, mixed-use and other clustered types of projects."

The Pine Island Road corridor sits in the heart of Cape Coral and is a state highway that stretches more than 20 miles from Interstate 75 westward to Pine Island. On a daily average, more than 30,000 cars travel Pine Island Road.

Recently, a new Nissan dealership was constructed to add to Cape Coral's "auto row." A Texas Tony's Restaurant and Aldi's Supermarket also popped up along the corridor last year. A Fairfield Inn by Marriott broke ground in 2019 and is slated to be completed this year, along with a myriad of other projects in the queue.

Springs at Cape Coral, a 292-unit multifamily family development broke ground in December of 2019 along the southeast corner of Barrett Road and Pine Island Road. Shoppes at Pine Island, a 50,000-60,000 square-foot retail and restaurant development slated for the northwest corner of Pine Island Road and Del Prado Boulevard, is scheduled to break ground in the first quarter of 2020.

Pine Island Village, a mixed-use development to include office, retail and dining, as well as a common area for pedestrians surrounded by fountains on four corners, will be located just west of Mel's Diner with developers hopeful to break ground in early spring.

"This mixed-use development represents a mix of office, restaurants and retail space all within a very attractive project where tenants and their employees and customers will find a true jewel on Pine Island Road," said Ray Masciana, president of BuiltRite General Contractors LLC in Cape Coral, which is developing Pine Island Village. "This project will break ground during the first quarter of 2020 and offer a host of amenities to prospective tenants. Additionally, the development offers its tenants a mix of amenities including four fountains, gazebo and plaza to host many on-site events for its tenants."

And yes, there's more.

"Residents will see new developments coming in such as Mercola Supplements where office, technology, and other jobs will be created," Noguera said. "Businesses with attractive landscaping will be drawn to the corridor creating an environment where major employers seek space similar to what has taken place along Colonial Parkway in Fort Myers."

Noguera said it's becoming a "regular occurrence" that the EDO is receiving inquiries from developers about Pine Island Road, which he said is another reason to hold the showcase event in April.

"We are hosting the showcase to share all the positive news taking place from a development standpoint, but also advising those developers/investors seeking to bring meaningful office/tech, light industrial, mixed-use, lifestyle and multi-family developments to the corridor that land is rapidly becoming less and less available," Noguera said. "In fact, there's probably less than 300 acres remaining to be acquired and developed. So, the showcase will highlight what development is taking place and what the city is seeking moving forward on the remaining undeveloped properties along the corridor.

"This past spring, we held a similar showcase in the South Cape and have drawn interest from developers as far north as Tampa and into Miami. Because of the Cape's distance from I-75 and lack of visibility, many developers/investors are not familiar with the Cape. Therefore, it requires EDO to promote investment opportunities at a conferences and showcase the activities taking place in our community."

Noguera said what the EDO would like to see come to Cape Coral are developments that create jobs, and good paying ones at that.

"The biggest challenge Cape Coral faces is the attraction of 'employers creating jobs,' moving this community of 200,000-plus, from serving as a bedroom community to a job generator where the commuters no longer have to sit in traffic and cross bridges to Fort Myers and Naples, but rather work here in the Cape," Noguera said. "Our goal is to recruit attractive office/business parks along the corridor which office, tech, light industrial, retail, hotel, etc. type use. These businesses create good paying jobs and can be drawn to the corridor and to our various business parks across the city."

Noguera said city staff is still working to determine a location for the Pine Island Showcase and he is hopeful to have it take place in early to mid April.

He said these new developments are a positive for the city and its residents, and while development along Pine Island Road is coming along, surrounding areas with space can provide a home to multi-family and assisted living facilities.

"With a dwindling supply of available land for new development, we must approach real estate carefully," Noguera said. "We have ample sites along Chiquita, Santa Barbara and Skyline to support assisted living, multi-family and public storage uses. There are far fewer sites to support business parks, retail shopping centers, and office buildings. Pine Island Road will serve as the major employment center for the city and be a true asset for the growing population."

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj

 
 

 

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