Three feet of land was a big point of discussion during Monday’s Fort Myers City Council meeting.
At the north end of Bay Street in downtown Fort Myers, part of the parking lot was once part of the Vivas Courthouse. Exactly a small strip of land, 38 inches long and 5 inches wide, that halted a major construction project.
A 63-unit apartment complex called The Iriving was designed to be built there. But to build the apartments, the developer and the City of Fort Myers will need the approval of the Vivia family. On Monday, they received that approval.
Joseph Vivas was a herder who built homes in and around Fort Myers in the 1900s. That parcel of land is still owned by his descendants.
That is why everyone involved in the project wishes to cherish, protect and preserve this small land.
So far, all signs point to a deal being done, but no one will say what the terms of that deal entail.
The mayor of Fort Myers, Kevin Anderson, spoke to WINK News, and he wants to say this. “There is always a bit of anxiety when these things come up… that they might hinder progress. But in this case, we were lucky everything was workable,” Anderson said.
And while many people may believe that this is a unique and special situation, it is not. The Luminary hotel in downtown Fort Myers was also suspended. The city initially purchased the land for $100 from the Dean family but agreed that the land would never be used for commercial purposes.
Fort Myers City Councilman Liston Bochette said that while the situation itself is not unique, Fort Myers and all of Southwest Florida really are.
Jim Bridgen is Vivas’ great-grandson, and he says it’s great that the past is becoming part of the future. “We are coming to full circle on all of this. And since it will be nice, it will share projects,” said Bridgen.
The land will now be part of a nine-storey, 63-unit apartment complex called The Irving. Rebecca Barney is the building developer for this project. “We are building a green, very modern, energy efficient building,” says Barney. “I think it’s beautiful that we can remember vivas their heirs and… their legacy and their stories in downtown Fort Myers. ”
The Vivas family is one of the founding families of Fort Myers. Bridgen says it’s been an honor to help continue his family’s legacy while improving the city. “72 years ago, to this day, one of my great-grandparents’s daughters agreed to a five-inch strip. And that’s why we’ve all come to full circle about passing this resolution, so we can just ignore it. vivas court and take Irving under construction,” said Bridgen.
Construction plans for The Irving can now be underway. Vivas heirs and developers say they also plan to work together to improve the park in downtown Fort Myers.
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https://www.winknews.com/2022/01/31/battle-over-land-in-downtown-fort-myers-is-spotlight-of-city-council-meeting/ Land dispute resolved as Fort Myers City Council, developer gets green light for apartment project