homepage logo

North Fort Myers Church buys property on N. Tamiami Trail for future facility

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jul 13, 2021

A local church has purchased 14 acres of property in North Fort Myers with hopes it will serve the community more than for just worship.

Gulfside Church, which currently holds services at a local high school and has never had a permanent home, has purchased the property at 17201 N. Tamiami Trail, just north of the U-Haul rental facility and across from the Race-Trac. The property runs from U.S. 41 back to De Navarra Parkway.

The non-denominational church bought the land for $460,000 and has big plans for the property, something church officials would like to compare to Cape Christian Church, with buildings that serve multiple purposes.

“We will have the land paid off in 12 months and we intend to build something that will be a blessing to the community,” lead pastor Paul Irminger said. “We want a place where people can come and bring the kids to. There’s a lot we want to do with the building.”

The church was supposed to be launched before Hurricane Irma, but that was scuttled as the church instead helped out as Island Coast High School became a shelter.

The church launched in October 2017 and remained at Island Coast until March 2020 when COVID displaced them.

“Other great churches in the area opened their place to us during that time because Lee County closed indoor rentals,” Irminger said. “We just came back to Island Coast.”

Irminger said there is a huge need for a church like Gulfside in North Fort Myers as North Cape Coral has grown so much and places like Cape Christian and Faith Assembly of God can be a long trip for some.

In three years, the church has grown to about 300 people and its influence has continued to grow, Irminger said.

The new church will include a 20,000-square-foot facility with a multi-purpose room for services as well as sporting events during the week, and children’s classrooms will double as preschools.

Irminger said he wants a building the community can use seven days a week.

“As we add more and more housing there’s more and more need for a church that’s part of the city,” Irminger said. “There is also a need for more preschools here. We have a vision to use it during the week as well as on Sunday. We don’t want something that’s just for us, but something that makes a difference.”

Irminger said if a church disappears from a community and nobody notices, then the church did something wrong.

“In our heart we want to have a permanent facility and be a blessing to the community seven days a week. And if people don’t go to our church, they would miss us being there if we disappeared,” Irminger said. “A building would only magnify that opportunity to provide more help and more things the city needs.”

Gulfside Church holds services Sunday at 9:30 and 11 a.m., both online and in person. For more information, go to www.gulfsidechurch.com.