Developer reveals 137-unit Red Coconut plan for Fort Myers Beach

Author: David Dorsey, Gulfshore Business
Published: Updated:

A 137-unit condominium complex, plus four Estero Bay-front homes, a beachfront club, three swimming pools, three green space areas with public access, a restaurant with beach views and a pedestrian overpass are being planned for the former Red Coconut RV Park on Fort Myers Beach. 

Seagate Development Group shared renderings that show the intention to ask for deviations in height from the Fort Myers Beach government in return for public benefits. 

The benefits include setting aside about 30% of the almost 10 acres for three public parks, including one fronting the beach.

The restaurant will have valet parking and will be open to the public. Donora Boulevard will be built with public access, as will Villa Drive, a road that will parallel Estero Boulevard with the goal of alleviating congestion on it. 

The height, peaking at 15 stories—12 more than are currently allowed—could be placed farther inland from Estero Boulevard, where the restaurant would be two stories above ground level before elevating to nine stories, then 10, then 14 and 15 stories. 

The current height restrictions at 3001 Estero Blvd. are three stories and limited to 30 feet above base flood elevation on the bay side of the road and 40 above base flood elevation and no taller than three stories on the beach side of the road, according to the town of Fort Myers Beach. 

To deviate and go above that, Seagate will have to go through the public approval process. 

The bulk of the residences will be inside two buildings of 68 and 69 units, respectively. Plus, there will be four homes near Estero Bay. The combined 141 units amount to about 15 units per acre, which is below the originally zoned 27 units per acre. 

“Almost doing a birthday cake design,” said Matt Price, CEO of Seagate Development Group, which paid $52 million for the land in September, closing on the property almost one year to the date after Hurricane Ian wiped out the RV park. 

“You’re taking the height, and you’re pulling it off Estero Boulevard,” Price said. “Right up against the road here, we only have two stories. And then we go back to nine and 10, and then we finally get to the highest point at 15, much farther back.” 

Seagate has yet to name the project, so for now, it will be named after its address, 3001 Estero Blvd. 

Price met with Fran Myers, the previous owner. Price shared with her the new vision of what had been her family’s land for more than 40 years. 

“She really wanted that beach view to be seen by everyone,” Price said. “She did not want height on the beach. She did not want residents on the beach. And that’s kind of what we did. We put a beach club on the beach, took all the residents and put them on the other side. 

“This is—you’re going to laugh at this—the 22nd iteration of the plans that we’ve gone through. So, we’ve gone through a lot of different plans and different meetings showing people. The openness of the streetscape here was something that people were really looking for.” 

Future plans for the former Red Coconut RV Park on Fort Myers Beach

Myers came away impressed with the project’s layout, said Matt Simmons, her real estate broker. She released a statement through him. 

“They’ve kept the promises they made when buying the property,” Myers said. “It was also important to me that they get public input and meet with the town to get feedback. From what I’ve heard, they’ve done that, and they’re continuing to do that. 

“I was happy to see how much of the beachside property would remain open with views of the beach from Estero Boulevard. It was important to me that any development of the property would have public benefits, so I was glad to see the large beach view corridor, the amount of park and open space, and a restaurant that’s open to the public.” 

Fort Myers Beach was incorporated in 1995, in part as a reaction to Diamond Head Resort being built at 12 stories fronting the beach. At the time, the public expressed dismay at taller buildings blocking beach views. 

Price, a local developer, said he understood the intricacies of preserving the character of Fort Myers Beach, while also planning for a resilient future, given the threat posed by future Ian-like storms. He knew the public would not go for a tall building fronting the beach. He and his team made sure not to design one there. The planned beach club will be built below the current allowed height there. 

Future plans for the former Red Coconut RV Park on Fort Myers Beach

“We really want people to see that we’re trying to do it the right way,” Price said. “And we’re trying to hit that delicate balance of what Fort Myers Beach used to be and what it can be moving forward. 

“This is not Miami. This is not the view of what we’re trying to do. I think this project fits in anywhere up and down this west coast. And I think Fort Myers Beach will be proud looking back 10 years from now, saying that was the right project for the biggest piece of ground on Fort Myers Beach.” 

While this marks the 22nd draft of plans—and the first to be released to the public—this isn’t the finished product, Price said. He said he anticipated about a year from now to go through the public process, followed by permitting before breaking ground. He anticipated about three years to complete construction after the groundbreaking. 

Future plans for the former Red Coconut RV Park on Fort Myers Beach

Price wasn’t prepared to talk about the project’s cost and eventual sales prices because the final blueprint could change. 

“I understand that there may be some people who have a different vision of what the island could be in the future,” Price said. “We did the best of what we could, really trying to incorporate as much as we could to the public to say, ‘Look, we hear you.’ We understand you might not love our vision, but here’s what we’re trying to do to give back. And show you we really care about what this will look like in the future.” 

Fort Myers Beach Mayor Dan Allers said he has looked at the plans, but he has yet to take a deeper dive into them. When asked for his first take on Seagate’s vision, he said: “I don’t know if I’ve formulated one yet. I’m going to look over it more. Obviously, it’s the biggest property on the island. Something unique is going to go there. 

“The public will get to see it for the first time. I have my own personal opinion. But I want to reserve my comments until people get a chance to look at it.” 

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