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Merchants Crossing first NFM Revite recipient

By Staff | Sep 12, 2018

The exterior of the Merchant Crossing Shopping Center will get a facelift as the owners plan to improve the facade of the plaza, thanks to a $75,000 grant received as part of the North Fort Myers Revitalization Incentives program.

For nearly a year, Lee County has been waiting for a qualified recipient for its $2 million pilot program to help revitalize North Fort Myers.

On Tuesday, the Lee Board of County Commissioners approved a $75,000 grant application for a new facade project for Merchants Crossing shopping center as part of the North Fort Myers Revitalization Incentives program.

The owner of the center, RD Management LLC, plans a $300,000 capital investment in the facade at center, 15201 N. Cleveland Ave., to accent new entry elements, create visual interest in the tenant spaces and in the plaza itself by incorporating the “Key West” palette, adjust parapets to create a more varied roofline and better proportions for the building.

The work on the facade is expected to begin before the end of 2018.

Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman said he was thrilled RD Management came forward to become the first recipient of the grant. He said many other land owners have tried to learn more about the grant before decided whether to step in, which is why it took so long for the first one to be awarded.

“They’re looking at their properties and seeing if they could apply for renovations. Merchants Crossing approached us to go through that process,” Hamman said. “I expected it to take this long because people had to understand the grant process, what would be available and what would be required if they were to apply.”

RD Management has already done some significant work on the plaza. Shortly after Hurricane Irma hit, they cut down nearly all the trees that lined the streets and parking lot to give the center more curb appeal.

Planet Fitness moved in at the end of April, with a long-awaited new Ross’s department store scheduled to come soon.

“When I started thinking about revitalizing the area, Merchants Crossing was one of the two big plazas that I knew we had to get on board (Hancock Bridge Square was the other),” Hamman said. “I’m thrilled the owners saw the vision we had and are taking positive steps forward.”

The Lee Board of County Commissioners approved the North Fort Myers Revitalization Incentives program in January. This is the first submitted grant application.

The program is intended to encourage private investment in sites and buildings to encourage business retention, attraction, and expansion. The work must be completed and verified by the county before the funds are awarded.

RD Management could not be reached for comment.