The bare walls and concrete floors inside the Harborside Event Center will soon be bright and brand new. There will also be a new name: Caloosa Sound Convention Center and Amphitheater.
Rhonda Decherd, the director of catering and convention services at the Luminary Hotel, knows what the old event center looked like, having worked there from 2006 to 2011.
“When we were here, we were like, ‘Oh my God, when are we going to get a new roof?'” Decherd said. “Now, we have a new roof; we have new carpeting; we have new bathrooms.”
MORE: See the progress on the outside of the Luminary Hotel and the Caloosa Sound Convention Center
It is one of the biggest projects Randy Henderson, the mayor of Fort Myers, said the city has seen in years. Henderson called it a “milestone” that was “decades in the making.” From wedding to business conventions, even volleyball tournaments. It is set to open in August.
“It will bring life and vitality to the City of Fort Myers and beyond,” Henderson said.
Developers said the new convention center would work with the soon-to-be Luminary Hotel. Both will bring thousands of people to downtown Fort Myers.
Bob Megazzini, the Luminary Hotel general manager, said it would bring business from out of town, which is excellent for the Fort Myers economy. The mayor projects the hotel and convention center to bring in $900,000 a year to the city and county.
But for Decherd, the most exciting part is the memories that will be made.
“I’m so excited to have all the community that was here who either graduated here or who had proms here, or who had events here,” Decherd said, “come back and see us brand new.”