Amazon has pulled the plug on a new facility it had planned in Fort Myers. Mayor Kevin Anderson and City Councilman Fred Burson have confirmed that the deal is off.
The facility was supposed to be built on SR-82 across from The Forum.
Amazon pulled out, in part, because the apartment complex next door to the huge plot of land east of I-75 threatened to sue them, according to Burson.
The land Amazon eyed for its new facility was 331 acres with tall grass swaying and cows grazing.
The lot where Amazon planned to build a warehouse. (Credit: WINK News)
Burson said the shipping giant didn’t feel like getting into a legal battle with the owners of the Lexington Palms at The Forum.
The city is not happy amazon’s going to look elsewhere. The mayor and Burson both said the city was all in on the facility because the warehouse would’ve created anywhere from 1,000-2,000 jobs, all with a starting salary of $18 an hour.
“It didn’t have anything to do with the city. We were all for it. And we were doing everything we could to help them. But they were threatened with a lawsuit from the apartment complex next door, and they just didn’t want to fight it. And they have a history of doing that. And people object to it. They just go someplace else where they’re welcomed,” said Burson.
Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson said the city did everything it could to make Amazon feel “Welcomed.” The city was ready to rezone the land to make the warehouse project happen.
“We were looking at anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 jobs, I believe it was. So, of course, obviously, we’re disappointed to see those jobs go away. However, we are working with several other entities for economic development,” said Anderson.
Burson said that development would likely be more apartments to handle the surge of people moving here.
The mayor said the door is still open to Amazon. “There’s a lot of other economic development going on in Lee County, so that would have been a nice boost, but it’s not going to, you know, shut us down or anything.”
Burson said one developer has already purchased some of the land Amazon had planned on using. The mayor said other developers are hungry and looking to get the rest.
Amazon’s move fits in with its national trend. The company is pulling out of planned expansion in cities across the country, blaming the economy.