Empty North Fort Myers plaza to welcome new businesses
FORT MYERS, Fla.– An empty plaza in North Fort Myers used to be homeless camp.
Hancock Bridge Square Plaza is getting a second look from business owners. The plaza sits along busy U.S. 41. It was once home to big companies like Walmart and Office Depot.
Linda Looker has lived in North Fort Myers for 30 years and described the empty plaza as sad and depressing. She pointed out the overgrown weeds, peeling paint, and boarded-up storefronts that the plaza has become known for.
“There used to be some very nice businesses over there,” Looker said.
The plaza has been empty for more than 10 years now but according to project manager Dewey Duke, it’s getting a big facelift. He has been cleaning up the site for weeks. His plans include repaving the parking lot and installing new LED lights.
Inside one of the largest buildings, that once housed Office Depot, things appeared to be in pretty good shape. Duke says the space is nearly ready for a tenant.
“We’ve had some big companies that I can’t mention that want to take this building,” Duke said.
He says he has 38 businesses ready to sign leases.
“We have top-of-the-line furniture companies, big appliance stores and we have doctors, realtors, and 10 people inquiring from well-known restaurants, big name restaurants, and one big one that you see down in Naples,” Duke revealed.
Shoppers like Looker say the improvements can’t come soon enough.
“I think it will bring it back to where it used to be,” Looker said.
While the parking lot has flooded for years, crews are working on the drainage and have plans to resurface the entire lot.
Duke said stores could open up as early as October.
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