Fort Myers City Council extends contract with Edison Restaurant

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro Writer: Carolina Guzman
Published: Updated:

Bringing a restaurant loved by the community back to life.

Last year, the community showed up to the Fort Myers City Council hoping to save the Edison Restaurant.

The council ultimately voted to extend its contract with the restaurant instead of selling or even tearing it down.

Leaders knew there was a lot of work to be done, and now it looks like the price tag for those repairs is increasing.

The initial estimate of $700,000 went up to over $2.5 million. That’s more than triple.

Councilman Liston Bochette told WINK News there were just more problems than meets the eye and pointed a finger at poor upkeep and an initial build that wasn’t up to par.

“There’s no way around it, we’ve got to invest money,” said Bochette.

Bochette said the city-owned building is old and has been around for nearly 50 years.

What initially looked like $700,000 for seven renovations now looks like a $2.62 million rebuild.

“You don’t know how the car runs until you look under the hood. Our engineers hired outside consultants, and they did core samples of the foundations, they did electrical analysis, and there’s much more to be done there than expected,” said Bochette.

Bochette said over the years the materials haven’t weathered well. The rebar is rusting, the kitchen floor is sinking, the supporting beams need repair and the entire AC system needs to be replaced.

Now the chickens have come home to roost, but Bochette believes it’s worth the cost.

“The golf course is an economic engine, and the better this clubhouse is, the better this restaurant is, the more people will visit and spend money, and then we all win,” said Bochette.

Part of every dollar made in the restaurant goes back to the city and the taxpayers. Bochette said the city is not the only one footing the bill; the lease is also contributing.

“And it’s going to return a good, not just dollars and cents, but enjoyment of the community,” said Bochette.

The council will vote on this budget amendment on Monday.

Bochette told WINK News he has some tough questions to ask ahead of that vote because we have to inspect, so we know what to expect.

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