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Demolition for Margaritaville could begin next month

Developers have indicated to town they will utilize town's contractor as threshold inspector

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Jul 14, 2021

Helmerich Plaza, formerly home to the Lee County Sheriff's Office Outreach Center, a discount liquor store, bike rental store and about 100 parking spaces, has closed and is to be demolished for Margaritaville. / Photo by Nathan Mayberg

Properties from the Pierview Hotel to Helmerich Plaza on Estero Boulevard could begin being razed as soon as August, according to a statement put out by Margaritaville Fort Myers Beach.

Town of Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Hernstadt said on Monday that most of the permits issued by the town for Margaritaville have been granted.

As of Monday, the town was waiting for the developers to submit the name of the individual or company who will be their threshold building inspector to be in charge of the structural inspections for the project. Town staff will review the qualifications of the inspector to ensure they meet state requirements.

“It’s in their lap,” Hernstadt said on Monday. The town will also have its own inspections to do of the work and its staff will be keeping tabs on the demolition and construction work.

On Wednesday, Hernstadt said the developers indicated they would use the town’s contractor as their threshold inspector.

Dozens of parking spaces at Helmerich Plaza in downtown Fort Myers Beach are now gone and fenced off due to impending demolition work for the Margaritaville project which will replace the plaza. / Photo by Nathan Mayberg

According to a post on the Margaritaville Fort Myers Beach Facebook page, the project has been issued all necessary county and state permits, and undergone a Fort Myers Beach Fire Department review. A hard construction date of Aug. 16 has been set by the company, which would be the precursor to demolition work being done, the company stated.

“The next work to happen will be a decorative and dust control screen that will be attached to all of the currently installed construction fencing,” according to the post. “We issued a deed to the Town gifting them land at the base of Matanzas Pass Bridge for purposes of vehicle and pedestrian traffic and safety improvements in that location to likely occur next year.”

Next year, the developers expect to gift a second parcel to the town as part of a land swap agreement. That parcel is to be used for beach access and parking, TPI stated. “This will be the new Court Street replacing the old Canal Street,” the post stated. The town vacated its Canal Street beach access last year as part of the deal approving Margaritaville. Chris Patton, who sued to stop Margaritaville, argued last year that “Canal Street was established for use by the public forever.” A temporary beach access will be maintained during the construction period of the Court Street beach access.

The general construction contract for Margaritaville was awarded to DeAngelis Diamond.

A message left with Tom Torgerson, who has been the public face for TPI’s Margaritaville project, was not returned.

The combined demolition and construction work is expected to last two years, according to statements made by the company’s representatives.