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Fort Myers Beach Set for New Town Hall in $7 Million Landmark Deal

by Richard Luthmann

Fort Myers Beach Town Council sealed a transformative deal on Monday, approving the $7 million acquisition of com-mercial property at 6231 Estero Boulevard, earmarked as the future site of the Town Hall. The strategic move comes on the heels of a state legislature announcement promising $8 million towards replacing the town hall, previously ravaged by Hurricane Ian. “This is a game changer,” Vice Mayor Jim Atterholt remarked, highlighting the significant impact of the purchase.

Negotiations, spearheaded by Town Manager Andy Hyatt, culminated in the agreement to buy the building, which was assessed between $5.6 million and $7 million. Despite needing state approval for the funds, spearheaded by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the town has prepared contingency plans. “The bill of sale is conditioned on funding from the state,” Director of Operations Frankie Kropacek disclosed, asserting readiness for various outcomes.

After initiating an offer of $5.5 million, Hyatt eventually agreed to the $7 million price tag, emphasizing the building’s resilience to Hurricane Ian and its prime location. The property, previously evaluated for other municipal uses, stood out for its suitability and potential savings for taxpayers. The absence of public discussion on the purchase was strategic, aimed at preventing price inflation due to governmental interest.

Mayor Dan Allers noted the building had been under consideration for over a year, alongside other sites. “With the help of our delegation, we have the potential to purchase the building, saving the taxpayers a great deal of money,” Allers said, pointing to the advantages of buying over building anew. Despite its unusual nature, the council’s discreet approach to the purchase was deemed necessary to secure the best deal.

The purchased building, formerly housing Sunstream Realty offices and the Esterra Salon & Spa, represents a substantial saving over initial town hall rebuild estimates ranging from $18 million to $25 million. It features around 42 parking spaces, with additional parking solutions being explored. The site is positioned near significant local landmarks and offers strategic advantages for the town’s redevelopment efforts. 

In addition to addressing the town hall’s replacement, discussions covered the use of temporary trailers and the necessity of minor upgrades to the purchased building, including elevator repairs. Anticipated to host council chambers on its minimally damaged first floor, the building is poised to become the heart of municipal operations by early 2025.

This purchase blends fiscal prudence with strategic foresight to rebuild and revitalize the community’s administrative core.