Remainder of Sanibel Outlets serves as stark reminder of Ian’s devastation

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

How long will this outlet mall people are calling a sad sight sit and collect dust?

Hurricane Ian closed Sanibel Outlets in Iona for good. Planned to go in its place are 498 multifamily homes of different types, but as days go on, people are still seeing this outlet mall as they ride into the island of Sanibel.

At one point, it was an area full of 40 outlet brands: Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger, to name a few. But now, not a person, car and no business in sight.

Nearly two years since Hurricane Ian, the Sanibel Outlets sit abandoned and heavily damaged, almost feeling like Ian hit yesterday, a constant reminder for people coming and going to the island.

“That’s the first thing you get on the island. You wanna see revival; you wanna see life brought back,” said Michelle Solate.

Solate visits Sanibel often, every year for the past decade, and seeing a place that had so much business at one point sit quietly is something that bothers her every time she visits.

“That’s where I go shopping before I get on the island,” Solate said.

The county told us a demolition permit was issued in May, and on Monday, they got an application for a development order.

We did have a chance to speak to the property owner. They told us that right now they have no comment regarding demolition progress and future plans because they are working on finalizing plans and the future of Sanibel Outlets.

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