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Myers River District Riverfront Redevelopment Draft Report Presentation Set for June 29, 2009, in City Council Chambers, Fort Myers City Hall
 
FORT MYERS, Fla. (June 25, 2009) –The Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency announces the Fort Myers River District Redevelopment Draft Report Presentation by Acquest Realty Advisors and Populous (formerly HOK) from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 29, 2009,  in City Council Chambers in the Fort Myers City Hall.
 
The draft development plan to be presented at the workshop is the summation of public workshops, stakeholders meetings, input from elected officials, and research into potential financing alternatives which could be used for design and construction. The team will update City Council on the plans and market studies that are being investigated. Representatives from Acquest and Populous (formerly HOK) will attend the meeting to make a presentation and answer questions.
 
In December 2008, City Council entered into a contract with Acquest Realty Advisors, Inc., to prepare and implement a riverfront development plan for the area between U.S. 41, Fowler St., Bay St. and the river. A data-gathering charrette was held in January 2009 to collect information on the riverfront from City staff, stakeholders, business owners, property owners, and citizens. Acquest team members held weekly conference calls and conducted follow-up meetings in February and March to investigate financing sources, explore private property owners’ development plans, and to begin formulating development options. On March 24–26, 2009, the Acquest team held Charrette No. 2 at the City Pier building to prepare alternative concept plans for the riverfront. The Charrette concluded with two concept alternatives—one that altered the riverfront by extending an inlet into Bay Street and one that left the riverfront intact. The June 29, 2009, meeting is the next step in the process. The presentation is open to anyone who desires to attend. It will be held in the Fort Myers City Hall building, City Council Chambers, at 2200 Second Street, Fort Myers, Florida 33901 at 5:30 p.m. Parking will be available in the City Hall parking lot.
 
The team selected over six other competitors includes: Acquest Realty Advisors, Inc.; Populous (formerly HOK Venue Architects); Parker Mudgett Smith Architects; Boorn Partners; Johnson Engineering; JJR Marine Consultants; and David Plummer & Associates. The Acquest team is experienced in all aspects of urban revitalization including hotels, convention centers, retail and dining experiences, marina development and public open spaces. Their challenge over the first seven months of the project is to work with the City, downtown property owners and citizens to design a pedestrian-friendly riverfront that will enhance the adjacent historic district. Based on previous riverfront workshops, the City Council has given the development team a wish list that includes a convention hotel, expanded Harborside Event Center, retail/restaurant/entertainment complex, expanded marina facilities, a riverwalk and public open space, and expanded parking opportunities. 
 
“The downtown riverfront has the potential to become one of the most exciting retail, dining, recreational and cultural arts venues in all of Southwest Florida and the City has selected an outstanding team to partner with for its development,” stated Community Redevelopment Agency Commissioner Mike Flanders.
 
Following the City Council adoption of the development plan in late summer 2009, the development team will change roles from development consultant to project developer. The team will be responsible for final designs, permitting, financing, leasing, construction and management of the project.
    
The development team stresses that the riverfront must become a unique shopping and dining experience, with local and regional merchants who offer the quality merchandize and personal service that can only be provided by a shop owner. 
 
The River District is the historic commercial district and emerging residential community along the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers.  Its geographic boundaries are East First Street (at Seaboard Avenue), the Caloosahatchee River, the Edison Ford Winter Estates and the McGregor Boulevard/Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor (ending at Evans Avenue).
 
The Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency (FMRA), formerly known as The Downtown Redevelopment Agency, was created in 1984 by the City of Fort Myers Florida to formulate a plan and strategy for the revitalization of the River District. The FMRA has continued to grow and redevelopment districts have been added throughout the city. Now, Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency oversees 14 different redevelopment districts within the Fort Myers city limits. The Fort Myers City Council members sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, oversee the FMRA and its operations. The FMRA office is located at 1400 Jackson St. in the River District.