When the city was platted back in 1969, city planners envisioned Cape Coral as a retirement destination. With flawed thinking at the time, they created pre-platted 40 x 125 lots in almost every corner of the city, for residential usage. [It required 2 lots together to form a buildable site.] So what was the downside of that flawed thinking? Read more……
The problem with a pre-platted city designed almost exclusively for residential land usage, is the serious blow to the tax base of the city. It placed the entire tax burden on the home owners to pay for roads…street lights…utilities…city office buildings…etc.
As the city grew, leaders realized that the lack of commercial and industrial space was a big problem! Hence creation of the “Central Cape Industrial Park.” It quickly filled up with warehouse operations, small manufacturing, light fabricating operations, and auto body shops. Today that area situated south of Viscaya Parkway still operates at full capacity.
New leaders emerged a several years later screaming for more dedicated commercial and Industrial spaces. The only remaining portion of the city with little to no residential development was in the north part of the city. That north central area was a perfect location, but lacked any infrastructure like water and sewer…and more importantly the question came up…Who was going to pay for those services to be added? Once again, the burden fell on residential home owners. Finally the “North Cape Industrial Park” came into place.
The land did eventually get dedicated for a 2nd industrial park, and utilities were added, and the cost placed on the backs of the home owners and municipal bonds to pay for the water and sewer lines to be run the 15 miles to the area. Fast forward another 15 years…It is now about 90% built out, with only a small bit of vacant land remaining.
A new proposal is in front of city counsel that will help in the desperate need to be pro-active in creating more commercial spaces. Proposed is the privately owned and hopefully to be constructed…”Kismet Industrial Park.” It will sit on 270,000 sq. ft. [25 acres] of vacant land that has been annexed into the city, that was formerly North Fort Myers. The annexed portion sits just north of Littleton Road, with Corbett Road on the east and 24th avenue on the west. It will involve straightening out the eastern end of Kismet Parkway to provide better access. The proposal for the project is from Randy Krise. He is working with city planners and hopes to secure approval for ground breaking in 2017.
It is a daunting task when you consider the Lee County DOT, Cape Counsel, and utility departments, all have a say in its design and usage. Its concept is to offer better affordability by smaller facilities in the 3500 – 5000 sq. ft. size, with possibly one or two 10,000 – 15,000 sq. ft. buildings.
With our largest employment being in the self employed service industry, it makes a great business model to attract small business owners to this project. I think from a real estate perspective and increased tax base this offers….it should be full speed ahead and fast tracked for completion. Its targeting the right type of commercial business operations, the correct location for access to business highway 41, and affordability, especially for start up companies. Lets make it happen!